Romy Shiller

The Vow: Or, “Really?”

In Film, review on March 26, 2012 at 8:44 am

Love is a many splendid thing. Love lifts us up where we belong. All you need is love!

from the movie Moulin Rouge


A car accident puts Paige (McAdams) in a coma, and when she wakes up with severe memory loss, her husband Leo (Tatum) works to win her heart again.


Review by Romy Shiller


Director: Michael Sucsy

Writers: Jason Katims, Abby Kohn

Stars: Rachel McAdams, Channing Tatum and Sam Neill

(maybe some spoilers, but who cares?)


Yuck. Sorry to those of you that liked it but this is one of the worst films I have ever seen. This film is described as a chick-flick and last time I checked, I was a chick. The concept is very nice – a husband lets his wife ‘be’ after a brain trauma, which leaves her with no memory of him. He is very much in love with her and their old life together. So, the ideas here are intriguing but the execution of them, poor.

Basically, the story: Paige and Leo are a blissfully married young Chicago couple. As they’re driving around town one snowy night a truck rear-ends them. Paige gets thrown through the windshield, suffering a severe head injury... Paige, upon waking from medically induced sleep, doesn’t recognize her husband.

The plot includes a controlling father, an evil ex and a cat. Paige does not remember the fight she had with her parents, why she left her old fiancée or why she is an artist and not a lawyer.

I was thinking that many people would focus on the ideas here and that would be enough – I mean an entire demographic likes the Twilight films (REVIEW) but this film just sucks on so many more levels. Sure, I have a problem with the Twilight films, but The Vow is so bad, it is not even comparable to anything.

There is also the expectation for female identification – in this respect I want to punch someone, not in a good way. Many people imagine that there is a standard for female behavior – I do not. It isn’t that this film conforms to a recognized ‘norm,’ it does not even feel cliché.

Rachel McAdams is still riding on the wave of The Notebook. While The Vow is a romantic drama, the similarities end there. Channing Tatum is associated with the romantic drama Dear John. Both actors have a niche but in this case, they also have extremely bad judgment.

The chemistry between the two characters is highly questionable. Because the story relies on their bond, it is flawed from the get-go. Critic Lisa Schwarzbaum from Entertainment Weekly says, The two stars look dewy and glossy and unexceptional, bound together less by chemistry than by the ministrations of a hard-working costume designer.

Rachel and Channing had not met before they were cast. Rachel asked the director, “How do I know? What if we don’t have chemistry?”

Michael Sucsy said, “Listen, for this particular story, if you have chemistry, it’s going to work. And, if you don’t have chemistry, it’s still going to work.

You didn’t have to edit it together and put a bunch of violins over everything to make it look like they had chemistry. They had chemistry. It’s totally real.


A review in The Guardian says that Channing Tatum is terribly miscast…

The story is based on actual events, which I am sure are very interesting. Michael Sucsy said, “I just thought it sounded like an incredible premise for a film. The fact that two people are already in love when the movie starts, and then they’re ripped apart, and then they have to find a way back to each other. That really touched me.”

However critic Richard Roeper says, The Vow is inspired by a true and wonderful story, but that doesn’t make the fictionalized version any less ridiculous.

The writing is choppy, unrealistic, does not flow, and is simply flawed. Editing might have broken up a rhythm, or tried to salvage the writing – who knows? It is half-baked and full of holes, villains written in bold type and, even though it’s based on a true story,an air of concocted banality.

Michael Sucsy directed the television film Grey Gardens (2009), which I liked… The Vow was messy, like the director had a hard time making choices. If he thought that his actors had chemistry and if the focus was on the story, the technical side suffered. The direction was misguided.

I kept looking at the Toronto locations to see if I recognized them. I used to live in Toronto. When you start looking at locations instead of the film, well, um, there’s a problem.

Critic Joseph Proimakis says, panhgyrikh teleth oxi anagnwrishs toy megaleioy ths dynamhs ths agaphs, bebaia, alla ths epibebaiwshs ths yperoxhs ths gkomenas poy probalei ton eayto ths apanw sta lagoydisia matakia ths prwtagwnistria. What he said.

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