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Jackie K. Cooper

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The Vow IS Enhanced by Being Based on Truth

Posted: 02/14/2012 6:57 pm

The Vow proves that when it comes to popular entertainment nothing succeeds like a good, sad love story. That was proven years ago with the Cary Grant/Deborah Kerr film An Affair To Remember as well as the Ryan O'Neal/Ali MacGraw classic Love Story. The Vow has the same kind of appeal though not quite at that level of entertainment.

Leo (Channing Tatum) and Paige (Rachel McAdams) are a couple madly in love. He operates a music studio and she is a sculptress. They have only been married a short while and have known each other for only a few years but they are blissfully happy. Then a car wreck occurs in which Paige is thrown through the windshield of their car.

She comes through the crash relatively unscathed physically, but she does have memory loss due to brain trauma. She cannot remember anything which happened in the past five years. This of course means she does not remember Leo at all. He keeps telling himself that she will recover her memory and things will go back to normal but as time passes he begins to doubt she ever will.

Then there are her parents looming around. Her father (Sam Neill) and mother (Jessica Lange) think it would be best for Paige to move back in with them in surroundings she at least remembers. Leo is adamant against this but he soon learns he is not totally in control of what happens.

The movie develops into a "will she or won't she" situation. At times it looks like she might remember, then at others it seems apparent she will not. This adds to the depth of the plot and the impact of the story. Since the movie is based on true events it makes the outcome even more doubtful as to a happy ending.

Tatum is sincere and loving as Leo but he is also a sort of clunky actor. For some this just adds to his charm, while for others it is off-setting. He has a boyish charm and you can certainly see why Paige was attracted to Leo. McAdams is the better actor making Paige come totally alive on screen. She gives her a warmth and a strength that makes the character admirable even if she doesn't always act the way you want.

Neill and Lange are perfect in the roles of Paige's parents. They are loving but controlling in just the right way to give a clear insight into what they want and need. Lange has one special scene in the film that proves why she is such an acclaimed actress.

The film is rated PG-13 for profanity, nudity and car crash violence.

The Vow isn't the best love story ever filmed but it is certainly a good one. You will find yourself completely wrapped up in the story of Leo and Paige. Plus you will find the film is even better because it is based on the truth about this couple.

I scored The Vow a wedded 7 out of 10.