The Vow

The Vow

2012, PG-13, 104 min. Directed by Michael Sucsy. Starring Rachel McAdams, Channing Tatum, Scott Speedman, Jessica Lange, Sam Neill, Jessica McNamee.

REVIEWED By Kimberley Jones, Fri., Feb. 17, 2012

First-time feature director Michael Sucsy previously made the TV movie Grey Gardens about those fabled eccentrics, Edith Bouvier Beale and her daughter "Little Edie," whom the Maysles brothers immortalized in their 1975 documentary of the same name. Perhaps Sucsy was overwhelmed by his immersion in such colorful and outré material; he's chosen for his followup, the I Can't Believe It's Not Nicholas Sparks weepie The Vow, the cinematic equivalent of a lie-down.

Paige (McAdams) and Leo (Tatum) play a young married couple living la vida boho on the North Side of Chicago. (That's movie boho; their loft looks like it was detailed by Pottery Barn.) She's a sculptor, he's an indie studio engineer, and all is bliss until, just moments into the film, a car crash renders Paige comatose. Upon waking, she doesn't remember the last five years of her life – doesn't remember meeting or marrying Leo or the crucial reason she broke with her aloof, monied family and previous fiancé, Jeremy (Speedman), or why she left law school to pursue art. Bewildered, new Paige reverts to old Paige ways – think sweater sets, feathered bangs, and a shrill disdain for the creative class – and Leo, just as bewildered, realizes he must woo his wife anew.

Excepting its ripped-from-the-headlines premise – "Coma Survivor Wakes To No Recollection of Husband!" – The Vow is a remarkably sedate thing, an earnest and occasionally touching romantic drama that sweeps aside the devastating narrative potential of a traumatic brain injury to traffic in a more benign depiction of amnesia. Paige's rediscovery of self is too rushed and unruffled, and the filmmakers favor Leo's point of view, larding the film with a disastrous voiceover, poorly written and awkwardly executed by Tatum. The actor seems like a good sport, and there's a sweet sort of luggishness about him, but watching him wrestle with the character's complex emotions is like watching rice pudding curdle.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Michael Sucsy Films
Every Day
Body-changing teen drama is more metaphysical than hormonal.

Richard Whittaker, Feb. 23, 2018

More by Kimberley Jones
We Have an Issue: Politics as Performance, Political Activism as Performance Art
We Have an Issue: Politics as Performance, Political Activism as Performance Art
In this week's issue: postmortem on the Ken Paxton impeachment trial, a profile of drag powerhouse Brigitte Bandit, and finalists revealed in the Best of Austin: Restaurants Readers Poll (get voting, y'all!)

Sept. 22, 2023

Austin Film Festival to Celebrate <i>Lost</i>'s Damon Lindelof With Outstanding TV Writer Award
Austin Film Festival to Celebrate Lost's Damon Lindelof With Outstanding TV Writer Award
Fall fest also adds All of Us Strangers, The Holdovers

Sept. 14, 2023


The Vow, Michael Sucsy, Rachel McAdams, Channing Tatum, Scott Speedman, Jessica Lange, Sam Neill, Jessica McNamee

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Keep up with happenings around town

Kevin Curtin's bimonthly cannabis musings

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle