2012 saw the release of The Vow, not to be confused with the slightly more memorable Stalinist propaganda film from 1946. Based loosely on the true events surrounding a real life couple, Kim and Krickitt Carpenter it sees Paige Collins (Rachel McAdams) suffer a severe head trauma after a car accident that makes her forget the last couple of years of her life including her marriage to Leo Collins (Channing Tatum). As Leo desperately tries to convince Paige that they were very much in love, the two begin to reinact their first dates together while Paige’s family, notably her father Bill (Sam Neill) seek to use the situation to get Paige’s life back on a track that they approve of.
Romance films rely heavily on the chemistry of the leading pair, and The Vow boasts a solid relationship between Tatum and McAdams. In the early scenes the two bounce off each other convincingly and portray a relationship based on trust and understanding. In the later stages however, facing an almost impossible set of circumstances and plagued with hints of melodrama and some woefully heavy-handed dialogue The Vow falters and almost grinds to a complete stop. It’s a big ask for a film such as this to hold the audiences attention throughout, especially with so little content to stretch to the full running time.
Sadly the film’s running time, combined with the lack of any real emotional punch moment means it shoots for the same audience as The Notebook, but fails to engage enough to really make the audience care. It’s a shame because the story, being loosely based on real life events, has the potential to really grab the audience and bring them to tears with it’s content, but Tatum mishandles the dramatic scenes, while McAdams behaviour is a little too unpredictable to ever invest properly in. Luckily both are strong enough in their roles generally to be likable, even if they’re not pushing themselves.
A little more edge, and a little less obvious manipulation might have helped the overall feel of The Vow, but with it’s flaws so obvious in the latter stages, it leaves the audience feeling slightly bored and ultimately unsatisfied.