February 20, 2012

Movie Review: The Vow

When I mentioned that I was interested in seeing The Vow, more than a few friends and acquaintances responded with a quizzical "Why?" Of course, the simple response is "Why not?" It seems that there are people out there who buy into the idea of the "chick flick" and the "guy flick." I am not one of those people. I have been known to use these terms as a bit of a shortcut to describe a movie quickly, we all understand what they mean whether or not we agree with them. So, we are back to me going to see a "chick flick." Whatever you want to think, there is nothing wrong with going to see a romantically flavored movie. Just don't do it by yourself around Valentine's day, no one should have to deal with that.

The Vow is inspired by true events. There are some words to always take with a grain of salt. Just because there is inspiration does not mean they are actual events. The story can be warped and twisted in new directions for ease of story telling, dramatic effect, or any number of other reasons. You could actually say any movie is inspired by true events. The inspiration came from somewhere real, regardless of the source. Kind of makes those words a bit meaningless, doesn't it? In any case, many of the movies who do use them do come from a verifiable story. This is one of those cases.

This movie introduces us to Leo (Channing Tatum) and Paige (Rachel McAdams). They are a happily married couple that have somehow managed to stretch the honeymoon phase to four years. No, not terribly realistic, but it is a sweet ideal to see played out on the big screen. Well, one day they are on their way home in a snowstorm, stop at a stop sign where they are sharing a moment, only to have their car rear ended by a large truck. The impact thrusts them through the intersection and into a telephone poll where Paige is thrown through the windshield. It is a pretty visceral crash that is very believable on the screen.

In the hospital Leo wakes up, but Paige is left in a medically induced coma to allow the swelling in her brain to subside. When she wakes up, she discovers she has lost the past four years of her memory. She does not remember Leo, their marriage, their life together, nor the fact that she is an artist. In her mind she still lives with her parents (Sam Neill and Jessica Lange), is a law student, and is engaged to Jeremy (Scott Speedman). Needless to say, this is not an easy situation for either one of them.

Paige is not terribly keen on moving in with a guy she doesn't know and Leo is none too pleased with the idea of her going home to her estranged parents and possibly former fiancee. The movie follows them as Paige is certainly scared of he four years she doesn't know and Leo is becoming increasingly frustrated with trying to help her remember, despite possessing Herculean patience.

The movie is pretty predictable with the biggest question being whether or not Paige will regain her memory. Aside from that, the movie is all about the chemistry between Tatum and McAdams, which is surprisingly good. They feel mostly natural and believable in the unbelievable film.

I liked the movie. It is far from being a great romance, but it is sweet has some humorous moments and is thankfully not a Nicholas Sparks tale (he needs to be stopped). It is sweet and sappy, predictable and silly, but I still enjoyed it. I liked the surprising chemistry between Tatum and McAdams. It is worth seeing. It is kind of like 50 First Dates if it was told in a more serious fashion.


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