Sunday, February 12, 2012

Remembering The Love: Our Review of "The Vow" (2012)

Directed By: Michael Sucsy

Starring: Rachel McAdams, Channing Tatum, Sam Neill, Jessica Lange

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for an accident scene, sexual content, partial nudity and some language

Synopsis: Driving home one night, young married couple Leo (Tatum) and Paige (McAdams) are rear-ended by a snow salt truck. As a result Paige comes out of a coma without the memories of her 5 years with Leo. With Paige last remembering being engaged to a former beau, Leo goes on a mission to win her love back. 


Andrew: This afternoon I further proved just how awesome a husband I am by accompanying my wife to see the new romance movie "The Vow" starring Rachel McAdams and Channing Tatum. Sarah, I'll let you take the lead on this one as far as what you thought of the film.

Sarah: Oh no, you wanted to see this just as much as I did. Ok, as for the movie...if you loved “The Notebook,” you will love “The Vow!” The film that proves that love knows no bounds. I was a little leery of this film, was ready to see another Nicolas Sparks book to movie, but I was pleasantly surprised. This film had heart. It would not have had been nearly as good if the casting had failed, but in this case, the casting was perfect! Channing Tatum and Rachel McAdams were the perfect pair for this role. What did you think about them?

A: I think your point about the casting is spot-on. For all movies, if the lead actors don't have chemistry then the whole film can be ruined; "The Vow" did not have that problem. Far from it, actually. McAdams and Tatum are perfect together, and Sam Neill and Jessica Lange as Paige's parents nail it as well. Neill and Lange are able to bring a gravitas to their parts as the long-estranged parents, and it helps to increase the tension between Leo and Paige's parents.

Going off of the casting a bit, what did you think of Tatum and McAdams' performances? 

S: Oh I think it was really well done! They made the audience feel what they are feeling, share in their anguish and confusion. When Tatum first came to the silver screen, I thought that he would just end up being some kind of butch guy who just does these macho roles, but I was wrong. He has really come into his own as an actor. He was perfect for this role. 

A: I'll be completely honest here: Channing Tatum killed me in this movie. His performance as a husband who can't do anything but watch as he loses his wife because of her memory loss just tore at my heart. I would have NO IDEA what I would do or how I would feel if something like that ever happened to us, but I feel like how Tatum played it is exactly how it would be.

There are a couple of scenes in particular - the one where they first realize Paige has amnesia and doesn't remember him, and one later on when Paige negatively reacts to something incredibly personally between the two of them - where Tatum's reaction felt so genuine that I teared up. (And yes, I'm man enough to admit that.)

I'm in the same boat as you in that I never thought much of him before, like in "G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra" and "Step Up" (which I haven't seen, thankfully), but after this film, the promise he shows in the upcoming "21 Jump Street" film, and his comedic turn in the terrible "The Dilemma" (he was the best part, imo), I'm definitely changing my stance on him.

S: I will say that the scene that you're talking about where he does something that is so personal between the two and she doesn't remember is a tough one to handle, but did you notice her performance? While she does freak out about it you can also see in her face that she recognizes the feeling but because it is so personal to her, she doesn't like to receive it from this man who she doesn't remember. 

McAdam's performance is amazing. She has really become one of Hollywood's leading actresses and shows that while she has the chops to have hard-hitting dramatic roles and also comedies like “Wedding Crashers” and “Mean Girls,” she can still bring out the love for a perfect Valentine's Day flick.

A: I have to admit that I did not see the reaction McAdams had in that scene, but that's probably because it was so quick. I'll have to watch for that the next time we watch it. You're right; McAdams does do a great job, too. I know we're kind of harping on it a bit, but it's the performances in the film that make it rise above the kind of chick-flick fluff that has come before it (like "Valentine's Day" or that one Miley Cyrus movie I can't remember the name of right now and don't want to look up the name for).

All that said about the acting, I do think the storyline could be seen as a bit light, but there were some parts of it I was not expecting and I'm glad it went that route. An example of the storyline that wasn’t super great is the reason Paige and Leo get in a car accident in the first place: they basically park their car at a four-way stop sign on a snowy, icy Chicago street and are just begging to get rear-ended. Suspension of disbelief and all that, though.

S: I think what I liked about this storyline was not made-up. It was based on a woman who lost her memory from an accident and she and her husband had to completely start over. I love that there are classic love stories like this floating out in the world. While we live in such a cynical world, there are stories like this that out there reminding us that true love is forever and can make it through. I know it's cheesy, but that's what this movie makes the audience feel.

A: Amen, sister. Ok, so I know this movie obviously was released at this time of year for a very specific reason, but in a vacuum, what is our final rating on "The Vow?"

S: Oh, we will own this, or at least I will own this. It's a good one to pull out on those days when you just need a good romance to watch. 

A: I knew you were going to say that. I'll endorse the purchase of this film to add to our collection. It's not quite to the level of "Crazy, Stupid, Love,” but it's pretty good.

S: Agreed. Any blue-blodded male better be taking their sweetie to see this one this week!

(Out of Five Clapboards)

Next Post: We will start breaking down an Academy Award categories leading up to the Oscars in 14 days, starting with the nominees for Best Visual Effects. 

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