July 8, 2012

Filthy Review - The Vow

The Vow (2012)

Review by Jude Felton

Hitting Blu-ray and DVD just in time for Mother’s Day is this romantic drama, from director Michael Sucgy, in which the events portrayed on screen were inspired by true events. Now, as with most movies based on, or inspired by, true events there will almost always be changes made, and that is no exception here. Suffice to say though that the core of the story is true, but most of the rest of the movie is a Hollywood version of the story. The link to the book of the actual events can be found at the end of this review.

On to the movie itself though, and it really does start with a bang. Leo (Channing Tatum) and Paige (Rachel McAdams) are a married couple, who after a night at the theater, drive home through snowy Chicago. Their journey however is short-lived as an accident puts Paige in hospital. She eventually awakens from her coma only to discover that she has no recollection of the past 5 years. This essentially means that she has no memory of Leo, their marriage or their life together.

Leo, being the loving husband, believes, and hopes, that this amnesia will pass and that they can resume their lives together. So begins a long, and often heartbreaking, journey for the two. A journey that is not only made difficult due to Paige’s injuries, but from outside forces that are determined to run there self-centered ways.

This is Hollywood, and in a film like this you need the good guys, and you need the bad guys; you need to emphasize the struggle; the fight against adversity, and in The Vow the filmmakers have nailed it. With her memory loss, Paige has it set in her mind that she is still engaged to her former fiancé Jeremy, played by Scott Speedman, whom she unceremoniously dumped. He of course wants to use this tragedy to his advantage, as do Paige’s parents, played wonderfully by Sam Neill and Jessica Lange.

The real strength of the movie lies with the lead performances of both Channing Tatum and Rachel McAdams though, without convincing performance from these two actors the film would not have worked. Sure, the power of the story might still be there, but it is reliant on the emotional attachment created by the leads. Channing Tatum is surprising in The Vow; you really feel the love and frustration he feels. For him nothing has changed; his wife is still his wife on the surface, so the pain he feels is nothing short of heartbreaking as he tries his hardest to bring things back to a sense of normality.

Playing Paige, Rachel McAdams, who is probably best known for her role in The Notebook, puts in a terrific turn as a woman who is equally as frustrated as her husband, but for differing reasons. For her nothing has changed, aside from the fact that the last five years did not happen; not for her anyway. She has to deal with a complete stranger, in her eyes, telling her that they are married, that her career is different and everything else that comes with it; it really is a wonderful performance from McAdams.

As with many Hollywood movies The Vow does play along to a certain formula, as you might have guessed, yet it still manages to remain totally engaging and a really enjoyable movie. The core of the story, as mentioned, is taken from a true story and mercifully the ending of the movie is not too schmaltzy, it does in actual fact tell the viewer how the real story played out. One thing is for certain is that it is the type of movie that makes you think what you would do if the same thing happened to you. Could you handle it? How would you deal with it?

The Vow is a terrific film that, despite the many clichéd characters and situations, has a strong story that is conveyed and portrayed with real conviction. As far as romantic dramas go this is definitely one of the better ones to hit the screen.

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