The Vow

The Vow Poster

Rating: ★½☆☆☆

The Vow” is a badly written, poorly executed, and weakly acted melodrama about how amnesia allowed a married couple in Chicago to relive the early memories of their love. The only thing that’s going for this inept love story is its release date. No doubt that the season of Valentine’s Day will lead thousands of couples into watching movies like this, no matter how terrible they are. Last year’s “Valentine’s Day” made over 200 million dollars, despite an 18% score on Rotten Tomatoes. I present to you a rating so low, Michael Bay hasn’t even been there (yet).

“The Vow” is currently holding on to a 30% rating, yet it made over 40 million dollars on its opening weekend in the United States. After discovering the statistics I just posted, I’m no longer sure why I’m still writing a review for this, since chick flicks are guaranteed to be box office hits when released near Valentine’s Day. But I press on. Right now I think to myself, “If this review causes a single person to cancel his or her plans regarding seeing this movie, then I’ll have peace knowing that I have done something good for a fellow human being.”

Rachel McAdams and Channing TatumSo Paige (Rachel McAdams) and Leo (Channing Tatum) are driving along the snowy streets of Chicago. Because they are madly in love with each other, they convince themselves that it would be real fun to make out inside their car whilst parked in the middle of the road. To no surprise, a truck crashes into them from behind; Paige breaks through the windshield and is knocked unconscious. If only she was wearing seatbelts. Leo, who only suffered minor injuries, is shocked to find out that his wife has lost all memory of their relationship. The accident has erased Leo from Paige’s memories; she can’t remember that she’s married to him. But Leo is determined to fix their marriage. He must make his wife fall in love with him all over again. Awww.

The idea sounds cute, but the movie is so busy with other issues and subplots that it rarely ever gets a chance to fulfill its premise. Notice how “The Vow” takes too long to move on from the common routines that are used to deal with a person with amnesia. Within its interminable running time of 104 minutes are multiple scenes – most of which are needless and prolonged – where Paige questions certain things about her “forgotten life”. Leo graciously provides her with all the answer she needs. She often responds with doubt or insecurity, leading to recycled monologues regarding identity and existentialism. At times, the tragedy of Paige’s accident evolves into a case study for someone like Friedrich Nietzsche, which is too much for the husband to handle.

The Vow, starring Channing Tatum and Rachel McAdamsSpeaking of the husband, poor Leo is played by the guy from “Step Up”, or Channing Tatum. I’m sure that the ladies love him just the way he is, and production companies will keep casting him for his physical appeal. But the guy cannot act. Every character played by Channing Tatum feels nothing more the sight of Channing Tatum posing under a different name. I hear the same monotone voice and see the same wooden personality. You know you’re watching a bad movie when the lead actor looks more confused than the woman with amnesia.

The plot for “The Vow” is said to be founded on the lives of Kim and Krickitt Carpenter. Their testimony is inspiring, and it’s a suitable story to share on a Valentine’s Day. Surely, they deserve to be featured on some famous magazine. An interview at a late night talk show would be just fine. But I don’t think their story is enough for a full-length movie. The few things it has to say should only be seen on Greeting Cards: “Love your spouse.” “Treasure your memories.” “If you must make out in your car whilst park in the middle of the road, wear your seatbelts.”


  1. On a related story, “Real-life couple from The Vow says it would have been nice to see Christian references in film.” Based on the report, the film was not true to the real couple’s experiences. Movie producers turned the film into a crowd pleaser and “sanitized it” as much as possible.

    • Though I knew that the real-life couple are Christians, I was not aware that they actually wanted to include their faith in the movie. But yeah, religious references will likely drive the majority of the movie’s market, which is the last thing producers want.

      The same issue happened with Soul Surfer and the Christian family from which the movie was based upon. What’s different in this case was that the family made sure that their faith played a major part in the movie.

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