By Sydney Gore
Eagle Contributing Writer
February 14, 2012
If you woke up after an accident and Channing Tatum insisted that he was your husband, would you even question it?
Most ladies wouldn’t, but it looks like Rachel McAdams didn’t get that memo.
The concept of “The Vow” has been used many times before: wife suffers from terrible accident or disease, gets diagnosed with amnesia and forgets who her husband is so he has to make her fall in love with him all over again. You saw it in “50 First Dates” and “The Notebook,” so you’re probably skeptical of the originality.
Director Michael Suscy (“Grey Gardens”) adds his own twist in “The Vow” because the story was “inspired by true events,” information not mentioned in the trailer. The story works because it injects a sense of realism into it, but it’s easy to wonder which parts were real.
Within the first five minutes, the film sets up the night of Paige (McAdams) and Leo’s (Tatum) car accident, and slowly, but surely it occurs. Literally in slow motion.
From there, the time frame shifts back and forth from the moment Paige and Leo met in Chicago, to their next four years together that Paige has forgotten to the present, which is somewhere from 2008 to now. (You’ll pick up on this during the scene where Paige asks who the president is and Leo says Obama).
This film doesn’t primarily focus on Tatum trying to get McAdams to remember him and fall back in love — in fact, there’s more complexity to the story than meets the eye.
Viewers get sucked into some family drama because the only thing that Paige can remember is her family, who she stopped talking to during the five years she was with Leo for some reason she doesn’t recall. Paige’s ex-fiancée also finds his way back into her life, causing more drama.
The chemistry between Tatum and McAdams is captivating. It feels natural and makes their love believable. Of course, it’s not comparable to “The Notebook,” but then again, most romance films will never get to that level.
Tatum has a way of playing the same type of character in every romantic movie he’s in — strong, soft-spoken and sensitive — but he performs in a way that moves the viewers in this film. He narrates the story and makes you choke up a bit because you feel for him in this heartbreaking situation.
The writers tried to balance the seriousness of this film with some light, comedic lines, but they only lasted for a few seconds before reverting back to the sad stuff.
The beauty of “The Vow” is that it is completely unpredictable. Most people probably go into it thinking that Paige will either regain her memory and fall back in love with Leo or that she will never remember him so he leaves her. Be reassured: something no one could have predicted or expected happens.