The Vow (2012)
Dir: Michael Sucsy
Channing Tatum’s pending baby will be a ‘Tatum-tot!’…
He’s growing on me slightly, and I have always liked Rachel McAdams, so I enjoyed this romantic film a lot more than I originally thought I might. It’s about a young married couple who are involved in a car crash, putting the wife Paige (McAdams) into a medically induced coma to cope with serious brain trauma. However, when she wakes up she has no memory of her husband Leo (Tatum) or anything for the past few years including completely changing her life and cutting ties with her well-off family.
It’s a story that might seem far-fetched, however is based loosesly on the experience of a real life couple. In reality as well as the film, the husband is still very much in love with his wife, and so puts in great efforts to try to win her affections all over again. In that way it’s a little bit like ’50 First Dates’ though the humour is very different, and he only has to try win her heart once more, not every single day.
There’s an occasional voiceover from Tatum’s Leo, about the idea that we are defined by ‘moments of impact’ in our lives and what happens if those were taken away. This idea is then seen to apply to many diffenet things that shaped their lives, most specifically their meeting each other, and then the car crash that sets the drama in motion. It’s a really excellently done crash, almost something you would see in a public service commercial reminding people to always wear their seatbelts in the car. It’s shown in extreme slow-motion, and you see the detail of windows shattering as Paige is thrown out of the windscreen. You can really see it coming however, there’s little shock to it, possibly deliberately to soften the impact of the scene so it’s not too much like one of those reminder videos.
The film also tries to pop in little clever details, such as their first date being at a ‘Cafe Mnemonic’, which is a nod to memory which is never really explicitly pulled up as mentioned, though I think if I were in the situation of trying to help my wife remember me and how we met, I would at least mention light-heartedly that the cafe we love and go to regularly iis named after a memory technique.
There’s also a nice aspect to her reconnection with family. When we see them getting married in quite an unusual way, the absence of parents is quite noticable, and thankfully the film answers that obvious query. The focus on how Paige has to learn all about Leo anew is subtly contrasted with how he’s also learning about her, now that she’s reset back a number of years to before they met and is again on good terms with her family, and more awkwardly her ex-fiance.
I think I’ve undervalued Channing Tatum a lot in the past, but in this film being paired with such a quality and likable actress as Rachel McAdams, he somehow manages to pull off a warm and touching romance about a couple who realise that sometimes love at first sight just isn’t enough.