AccessReel Review – The Vow

AccessReel Review – The Vow

Inspired by true events, The Vow tells of married couple Paige and Leo whose relationship is thrown into doubt after a car accident from which Paige suffers memory loss. Her devoted husband is faced with the challenge of making his wife fall in love with him again.

It’s every woman’s dream isn’t it: To have your husband or long standing partner go back to the hopeless romantic he was when he first won your heart? Well get ready ladies cos this film offers you the chance to relive exactly that.

A happily married couple find themselves in disarray after a car accident wipes Paige’s memory blank (rendering her a ‘blank Paige’…get it?)

She is unable to remember the last five years of her life. Inconveniently for her husband Leo, it was in these five years that she changed from rich sorority girl living in her parents’ suburban mansion, to uber-cool artist living in the city, married to impoverished record producer Leo.

Watching the first 20 minutes of this film is akin to choking down an extra large corndog with a hefty side of cheese.

Corny to the max with generous helpings of slow-mo and our couple making googley eyes at eachother, the viewer has to remind themselves the film is presented this way as we are witnessing Leo’s memories.  Obviously – given the emotional upheaval he has had – he is looking back on his marriage with rose-coloured glasses.

Remember this and you may just avoid retching into your bucket of popcorn.

The film’s opening monologue raises an interesting theory surrounding ‘moments of impact’ and how they shape our lives. Sadly, however, this idea is hardly explored and rarely referred back to during the movie.

There is definitely a little too much ‘trying to be cool’ going on in this flick. Paige is a brilliant artist, Leo owns a recording studio. They somehow afford to live in a trendy warehouse flat (despite apparently being impoverished creative types) and they hang out with outlandish ‘artistic’ buddies, frequenting quirky local cafes.  Puh-lease!

But McAdams is as charming as ever, succeeding at ensuring we still like her character despite the hardship she is putting her husband through. Even Tatum is mostly convincing in his role as the young, loving husband (though no artistic recording studio owner could possibly be that buff! Not that I’m complaining….eye candy ahoy!)

The two share some great moments capturing realistic elements of a relationship (the first fart infront of eachother, the husband who doesn’t really understand his wife’s work but tries to pretend anyway etc.) these little golden moments in the movie are endearing. It is nice to see the ‘normal’ parts of a long term relationship realised on film.

The supporting cast deliver forgettable and sometimes cringe-worthy performances. Sam Neill and Jessica Lange are solid as Paige’s stiff parents, but their group of friends are unmemorable despite trying too hard to capture that ‘cool close-knit group of friends’ thing.

The Vow is a romantic drama rather than a romatic comedy and the story is heart-wrenching (particularly as it’s partly true), but Director Michale Sucsy fails to maximise on what could have been a real dramatic venture. The audience could have been in floods of tears if he’d been a little bolder.

Ultimately I was begrudgingly won over by this film. It’s flawed and you’ll have forgotten it by the next day, but I still found myself barracking for the hubby as he battled to win his wife back, and I left with a smile on my face.

The Vow manages to just squeeze 3 stars out of 5.


The Vow hits Cinemas February 9th 2012