The Vow

When I walked into The Vow, I was all ready to be swept up and swept away by a moving, heart-swelling romantic drama about the power of love. Instead, I got a teary-eyed Channing Tatum trying repeatedly to rekindle a flame that had little spark to begin with.
Our Rating

Genre(s): Romance, Drama

Director: Michael Sucsy

Actors: Rachel McAdams, Channing Tatum, Sam Neill, Scott Speedman, Wendy Crewson, Jessica Lange

Year: 2012

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Country: USA

In the film, which is “inspired by true events,” Tatum is Leo, an extremely charming and likeable fellow, who falls head over heels in love with Paige (Rachel McAdams), a sort of Boho art student who’s just secured a big commissioned gig at Chicago’s Tribune Tower. In flashbacks, the audience watches the two meet cute, fall in love and get married. All that stuff was very sweet. Not exceptional, but sweet.

Then, however, the pair are involved in a car accident that sends Paige head first through the windshield, resulting in her memory of the preceding five years being wiped clean. She no longer recognizes Leo, nor their friends, nor has any recollection of exchanging vows with him. So, he makes his mission to help her remember.

What follows is, I think, meant to be a testament to the enduring force of love that exists between these two characters, but the whole thing is painfully flat. There’s no “wow!” between Tatum and McAdams, thus no real sense of urgency or “I really really want these two back together!”, and the flashbacks are infinitely more interesting than their present-day interactions. There’s a somewhat repetitive nature to the storytelling in Leo’s ongoing efforts to jog his wife’s memory and, after a while, it gets boring.

Sam Neill and Jessica Lange turn up in caricature supporting roles as Paige’s wealthy, overprotective parents, and Lange delivers a performance that repeatedly veers back and forth into over-the-top territory. I mention their presence only because: 1. they’re relatively high-profile names, and 2. neither one does anything to enhance the proceedings.

Both Tatum and McAdams are entertaining and charming and thoroughly watchable actors but, together here, none of those things translate into any genuine sizzle between the two. Sure, they’re cute and pleasant enough but, in order for a film like this to succeed, you need something more than that to keep the audience engaged.


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