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article imageReview: Audiences will do well to take ‘The Vow’ this Valentine’s Day

By Sarah Gopaul     Feb 10, 2012 in Entertainment
‘The Vow’ is the touching love story of a couple torn apart by circumstance and held together by a desire to regain what was lost, starring Rachel McAdams and Channing Tatum.
Each Valentine's requires a new love story so there's something appropriate for couples to watch on movie dates. Surprising your partner with tickets to the latest shoot 'em up or fart joke comedy probably isn't the way to go - unless you're both really into that sort of thing. This year's favourite pick will likely be The Vow. It's definitely a frontrunner for this decade's The Notebook, but with less tears.
Paige (Rachel McAdams) and Leo (Channing Tatum) are happily married and still head over heels for each other. But one moment changes everything. A car accident causes Paige to forget the last few years of her life, including the entirety of her time with Leo. While she struggles with losing a part of herself, he's faced with an impossible situation: his wife does not remember who he is, let alone their love for each other. The film is about their journey down a rocky and non-linear path to find each other again. What's even more amazing is it's inspired by true events.
This movie can make your heart ache for a love that powerful or be utterly grateful you've already found it. Of course it's a little cheesy, but in that way that makes you smile, not roll your eyes. Tatum and McAdams, neither of whom are unfamiliar with the genre, portray a love and frustration that rings true in many ways. So much so that this will undoubtedly be categorized as one of those movies that create unrealistic expectations of relationships - except that the gist of it is fact.
It's almost as if part of the reason Tatum was casted was his soothing, masculine voice previously employed to read love letters in Dear John. In this picture, there is a slightly too lengthy voiceover through the first act, but the sentiment boils down to this: moments of impact define who we are and we are the sum total of our memories; but what happens if we can no longer remember those moments? Despite the soft category, the film actually does a decent job of exploring this conundrum through Paige's interactions with everyone after the accident.
It's interesting both actors developed their reputations as romantic leads portraying characters in Nicholas Sparks novels. (Of course one film was dramatically better than the other.) Brought together for a different but no less tragic love story, Tatum and McAdams bring a sincerity to their roles that draw audiences into the tale. He's incredibly charming, funny and passionate, truly breathing life into his character. It's easy to connect to his emotions and dilemma. Conversely, she's sweet but often frustrated and unsure of her choices. Though it's possible to empathize with her, her confusion prevents the viewer from identifying with her.
The Vow doesn't prescribe entirely to a typical Hollywood narrative, which means it's not trying to make you cry; but your heart will feel a little warmer when it ends.
Director: Michael Sucsy
Starring: Rachel McAdams, Channing Tatum and Sam Neill
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