A car accident puts Paige (Rachel McAdams) in a coma, and when she wakes up with severe memory loss; she remembers her estranged family and her former boyfriend, but she can't remember her husband Leo (Channing Tatum). His challenge is to try and romance her all over again, much to the disapproval of her father (Sam Neill), who has different plans for Paige. (Based on a true story.)
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Clearly a film for romantics, The Vow - as the title implies - is about commitment. The vow that Leo (Channing Tatum) makes to Paige (Rachel McAdams) when they get married in front of a handful of close friends in an art gallery (without the gallery's permission) is made of words he has written himself. They are sweet and sincere - and binding.
Their life is shattered by a silly car accident, and in one of the few voice-overs in the film, Leo talks about his interest in impacts (large or small) that alter the course of lives. If it weren't for the fact that the film is based on a true story, it would be hard to believe that Paige could remember her family and her ex boyfriend - and forget her husband. But that's in part what makes the story a story: it's a quirk of fate as delivered by accident and in defiance of medical science.
McAdams makes Paige real, full of the doubts and insecurities her character goes through in the emotionally complex journey. This involves re-engaging with her family, from whom she has been estranged for five years. Her lawyer father (Sam Neill) had wanted her to study law but Paige abandoned law for sculpting.
Tatum plays a romantic lead like a teddy bear; soft and cuddly. He is quite convincing as the loving husband who does everything he can to resettle his wife into their loving routine. Sex is discreet and infrequent, but there is some playful physicality between the lovers.
Sam Neill does a contained turn as the narrow minded lawyer dad and Jessica Lange shines as Paige's mother, with deeply buried pain that she reveals in a moving scene.
Set and shot in Chicago over several seasons, the film looks fresh and interesting and clever use is made of several locations. There are over-simplifications and short cuts, but by and large the film manages to convey authentic people, situations and dilemmas.
What's endearing is Leo's single minded efforts to reclaim the love he shared with Paige. But this is the extent of the film's scale: will she remember? Will she go back to him? Will she stand up to her father? It's not really cinematic in scale, but it is made with heart and emotionally it should please the target audience of young women - and romantic young men.
First published in the Sun Herald
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VOW, THE (PG)
CAST: Rachel McAdams, Channing Tatum, Sam Neill, Jessica Lange, Scott Speedman, Jeananne Goossen, Dillon Casey
PRODUCER: Gary Barber, Roger Birnbaum, Jonathan Glickman, Paul Taublieb
DIRECTOR: Michael Suchy
SCRIPT: Jason Katims, Abby Kohn, Marc Silverstein
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Rogier Stoffers
EDITOR: Melissa Kent, Nancy Richardson
MUSIC: Michael Brook, Rachel Portman
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Kalina Ivanov
RUNNING TIME: 104 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Sony
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: February 9, 2012
RIVERSIDE SNEAK PEEK PREMIERES
A program of premiere screenings of new movies prior to their commercial release
on 4 consecutive Tuesdays - March 10, 17, 24, 31, 2015 - at Riverside Theatre,
Curated & presented by Andrew L. Urban, discussion to
follow with special guests. Briefing notes provided.