The Vow: "I Promise To Never Forget That This Is A Once In A Lifetime Love"

Director: Michael Sucsy
Writer:    Abby Kohn
               Marc Silverstein
               Michael Sucsy
Starring: Channing Tatum
               Rachel McAdams
               Jessica Lange
               Sam Neill
               Scott Speedman
               Jessica McNamee
               Tatiana Maslany
Rating:    ***

Release Date: Out Now 

Rachel McAdams are basically veterans at these old soppy romantic films, I mean they have both starred in big romantic blockbusters, The Notebook and Dear John, respectively, so I guess sticking them together in a romantic film seemed like the next best step. It's tempting to say that the idea is a 'no brainer', but that seems a tad rude considering the films content, so scrap that... The film itself is actually based on the real life story of Kim and Krickitt Carpenter, and is a genuinly touching story; well Kim and Krickitt's is, the film is lacking.

Paige and Leo (McAdams & Tatum) are a young couple, she's an artist and he owns a recording studio. They are very much in love and are happily-married, but on one fateful day their lives are turned upside down. They are involved in a car accident and it is Paige who is hurt the most, and due to brain trauma loses her memory, completely forgetting about Leo and her life now.

Paige soon has Leo in one corner fighting for the love they once had for eachother, and in the other corner, her estranged parents (Neill & Lange) who use this as an opportunity to re-connect with their daughter and correct the issues form their past.  Due to the war between the opposite corners, and her conflicting emotions, Paige finds her self swinging away from the bohemian lifestyle and back to the people she abandoned years earlier. Her last memories are from a time when she was studying to be a lawyer, she was living the high life and was engaged to the pompous Jeremy (Speedman).

Romantic dramas depend heavily on the chemistry between it's stars, and luckily McAdams and Tatum have a geuine and believable bond, which allows you to care for them as characters. They're relationship is just as believable whether they are a happily married couple or even when they are fighting for the love they once had. 

It's the simple moments in the film that make it a sweet story, like playing a game of chocolate roulette or jumping in a freezing lake together, all with a indie soundtrack playing over the top. However, it's Paige's comfort in her old setting and her growing doubts about having a future with Leo that gives the film some dramatic tension.

There is no doubt that the performances given throughout the film are pretty incredible and are able to keep your attention, at first, but after a while you start to feel like everything you're watching has been done before. The story, from Abby Kohn, Marc Silverstein and Michael Sucsy, purely uses the brain damage as a means to make a soppy love story, and doesn't quite use it to it's fullest potential.

What could have been a really gritty plot point becomes a gimmick and therofre the film feels is lighter than it should actually be. Furthermore, Paige's parents are severely underwritten, coming across as two-dimensional obstacles rather than rounded people. Even Lange and Neill, two brilliant actors, cannot save the characters from their inevitable fates.

The Vow was so close to being a brilliant piece of cinema, but it was just too soft, and was only really watchable thanks to it's two stars, McAdams and Tatum. They are extremely good when it comes to this type of thing, yet despite their appeal and the brain trauma plot, it can't quite break away from the soppy cliches that come so easily to this type of story. Paige's memory may be sketchy, but audiences will definitely leave the theatre feeling like they have seen it all before.

The Vow - Trailer