I was lucky to see The Vow very early in advance and decided to give an early review for our readers. The Vow is a romantic drama, starring Channing Tatum and Rachel McAdams. Both actors aren’t new to this kind of movie: Channing Tatum stole many hearts in Dear John, and Rachel McAdams made many believe in true love in The Notebook. The Vow is exactly the Nicholas-Sparks-ian movie you expect (Even though, it isn’t based on a Nicholas Sparks novel).
The movie is about a young married couple who deal with the trauma of surviving a car accident. Leo (Tatum) comes away with only some scratches and bruises, but his wife, Paige (McAdams), wakes up with severe memory loss. She can’t remember anything from the past five years, meaning she doesn’t remember nor recognize her husband at all. Confused and scared, she wants to go home with her estranged parents, but of course she doesn’t remember ever being estranged from them. But Leo convinces her to stay with him, reasoning that maybe their home and him can help bring back her memories.
The movie has a ton of ups-and-downs. Paige’s character goes through a drastic change. One minute she’s this Bohemian artist chick, the next she’s a J. Crew-clad prep, wanting to be a lawyer. I guess five years really does make a difference. It’s at that point when we notice the big difference that this isn’t going to be easy. Hence, the rest of the movie is just watching Channing Tatum charm the pants off Rachel. While many disagree about Tatum’s talent, the guy does have a charming on-screen presence, and he knows how to channel it well. It’s what made the movie better than it would’ve been with a stale two-dimensional lead. He had you rooting for his character, despite the absurdity and impracticality of the situation.
McAdams’ character is predominantly unlikable, which is annoying. Paige was sweet, kind and generous with Leo, and when she reverts back, she’s mean, haughty, and vain. I didn’t see why the big change in her personality was necessary. Was it to make the audiences more sympathetic toward the already lovable Channing Tatum? Does losing memory mean you lose your values too? An argument could be made that she developed those values in the past five years. However, it took some kindness, generosity, and other good values for her to get to the point of where she was five years ago.
Overall, The Vow was an okay movie. Compared to its contemporaries, it is way better than Dear John, but not as good as The Notebook. Audiences go see these movies to be swept away, not to see something remotely close to reality. I don’t blame them. The movies are for escapism, even though it sometimes gives us unrealistic expectations for reality. Whatever the case, The Vow gives you everything the trailer and promotional material promises you, and I guess that’s more than I can say for some other movies.
The Vow hits theaters February 10, 2012.