Film Review: The Vow (2012)


Life could not be more perfect for Leo (Channing Tatum) and Paige (Rachel McAdams). Their married, hipsterish lifestyle humbly allows for Paige’s sculpturing and Leo’s recording studio to flourish. However, an unexpected car wreck leaves Paige suffering from a case of partial amnesia. All she can remember is her life five years ago with her affluent parents (Sam Neill and Jessica Lange) and dashing ex fiancé (Scott Speedman). The film details Leo’s heartfelt attempts to help Paige remember her new life and the struggles that are met along the way.

After tearing things up in The Notebook, Rachel McAdams finds herself in another cranially fuelled romantic drama. With The Vow, McAdams presents another performance that solidifies her Hollywood leading lady status as brain trauma patient Paige.  Channing Tatum does have moments in his performance that do resonate well, but otherwise seems a little stiff and miscast. Playing the tempting ex-fiancé bait, Speedman offers much more range in his facial expressions and would have made an interesting leading man.

Sam Neill and Jessica Lange and their supporting performances are strangely cast. Having worked on director Michael Sucsy‘s Grey Gardens in 2009, Lange seems to pull in a favour in a performance that mainly requires her head to turn back in forth in hospital rooms, wedding parties and at dinners. Thankfully she is given one small scene that does have an impact and displays her tremendous talent. Similarly, Neill is underused and could have used more character development, instead seeing a stereotypical disapproving father role.

The Vow has few faults, but also fails to greatly impress. Underlying all of the dramatic action is a nice and effecting but typical dramatic score from Rachel Portman and Michael Brook. Co-writers Jason Katims, Abby Kohn, Stuart Sender and Marc Silverstein, and Sucsy’s direction handles the material well and despite it being based on a true story, it all seems quite familiar. Aimed at the Valentine’s Day flocking female frenzy, The Vow is filled with sentimentality, emotion and plenty of lovesick moments to make the ladies cry.

The Vow opens theatrically in Australia on February 9 through Sony Pictures.

2.5 blergs
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