'The Vow' Review: A Sweet Attempt at an Unusual Story

Do you promise to love your wife, to have and to hold, for richer and for poorer, in sickness and in health, while she suffers through grievous memory loss, as long as you both shall live?

That’s the dilemma facing Leo (Channing Tatum) after his wife Paige (Rachel McAdams) recovers from a serious brain trauma wiping out all memories of their marriage in “The Vow.”

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The film, loosely based on a true story, tells the standard tale of a young couple who meet, fall in love, get married to live their happily ever after until one of them falls out of love. It’s just not in the way you expect.

When Paige wakes up from a medically induced coma following a car accident, she thinks she is currently engaged to ex-boyfriend Jeremy (Scott Speedman), still in law school, and is in close contact with her estranged parents (Sam Neill and Jessica Lange). Paige resumes her old life, the one she lived before meeting Leo and becoming a completely different person.

So artsy Leo hardly seems her type, and her parents seize the opportunity to re-enter her life again. Can Leo win back the heart of the love of his life?

What happens when your loved one loses the last five years of her memory and can’t remember you at all? Well, it probably wouldn’t go down exactly the way it did in this film, but director Michael Sucsy does a sweet job trying.

I know this is only “based on” true events, and whenever that pops up in the trailer, it means the scriptwriter has taken an idea from a true story and used plenty of creative license. I was very much in love with “The Vow” until it took an unexpected turn midway through. Paige becomes extremely whiny and annoying after starting out as likable, fun, and relatable! I just couldn’t sympathize with her anymore.

One minute she wants to be with Leo, then the next she’s fighting her feelings for ex-fiance. This story’s been said and done and frankly, we didn’t need all this mixed feeling nonsense in the middle. We should’ve seen more of Leo and Paige’s back story and struggles the couple face while trying to reconstruct her memories. It would’ve been much more of a realistic touch than how the film eventually plays out.

McAdams is a talented young actress, but don’t expect to see her charismatic character from “The Notebook” here. She does what she can with the part; I just didn’t agree with the scriptwriter’s wishy-washy tone.

As for Tatum, the handsome star certainly has impressed me this year kicking butt (literally) in Soderbergh’s “Haywire” and coming off strong with his film performance. If nothing else, it’s he who really carries the heartfelt tale all the way to the end.

“The Vow” isn’t this year’s best romantic drama or the Valentine’s Day film girls were hoping for, but Sucsy tells us an unusual story in a very pleasant and watchable way. If only certain subplots were left out altogether, the film could’ve been remarkable to watch versus just mediocre.