Sunday, May 13, 2012

Sunday Movie Time: The Vow

The best part of having a Sunday afternoon off is when Saturday brought me a fresh red envelope. You know the ones I'm talking about.

So this weekend the selection was The Vow. This 'inspired by a true story' flick tells the tale of Paige and Leo, a young couple madly in love. One wintery night they are having dinner out and end up getting a bit frisky in the car when it is run into by a snow plow (I know rather lame sounding set up but work with me here). Both are hurt but it's Paige that is the more severe as she ends up with a 'traumatic brain injury' (a phrase tossed around a lot during the movie) and after a few weeks in a forced coma she wakes up to discover that she's forgotten around 4-5 years of her life including her entire relationship with Leo.

Once Paige is well enough to leave the hospital it's time to get back to life in the hopes that her memory loss is temporary. It's at this point that we discover that she hasn't actually spoken to her parents, who have rushed to her bed side, in basically the same 4 year period. But Paige doesn't remember why she quit law school, ditched her well to do family and ended up in Chicago with Leo. It takes hearing herself in a voice mail from Leo's cell phone for Paige to resist her parent's desire to return to her childhood home and go with her husband.

Leo does what he can to help Paige remember her routines and such but it's one disaster after another. First he allows their friends to toss a surprise welcome home party at their loft on the same night that Paige leaves the hospital. Later he is showing Paige her art studio and jacks up the music the way she used to play it, forgetting that she might be a bit noise sensitive after that 'brain injury'. And he yells at her for being used as a punching bag. Which he basically was but, all good intentions aside, he set himself up to be treated that way. I don't want to make it sound like Leo was a douche, he wasn't. Just a bit pushy. Which even he realizes when confronted with Paige deciding to go to her parent's home to help her sister with the final preparations for her own wedding.

Leo decides that rather than trying to make Paige remember everything that happened since they met he would focus on making her fall for him again. Sounds like a decent plan but it doesn't go off so well. He asks Paige out on a date and takes her to the spot where they met, a favorite coffee shop and then on a weird polar bear style swim which doesn't led to them having wild memory inducing sex. Not sure if that was his plan but the date wasn't some miracle moment for sure. Then at the sister's wedding Paige's dad offers to pay off all her medical bills if Leo divorces her and walks out of her life. Leo refuses as expected but then has a less than great moment when he punches Paige's old boyfriend (who Paige doesn't remember dumping).

In the end Leo and Paige do divorce and he goes back to his life alone. Meanwhile Paige stumbles onto the reason she left, she was pissed off that her father had an affair with her best friend. Ultimately Paige quits law school again, gets an apartment back in Chicago and goes back to art school. Only this time she and her family stay in touch. One night while working on a sculpture she stumbles onto a coffee shop menu where she had written down her wedding vows and while it doesn't cause a flood of memories or such it does seem to tug something and we have a cute meet style moment of Leo and Paige turning up at said coffee shop at the same time to discover it is closed due to snow. In the end they go off to find some other place to grab a bite to eat and a title card tells us that the real life couple eventually remarried, had kids and the wife never actually got her memory back. A fate we are to presume befell Leo and Paige as well.

This movie was okay. Sweet and sappy and no shock that they walked off into the snowy night together. That's how these movies always are. Channing Tatum and Rachel McAdams were fine in their roles as were the supporting cast (including one of my fans, Sam Neill). In the beginning there was some interesting use of flashbacks to intercut how the couple meet with bits of Leo at the hospital waiting for Paige to wake up. I was disappointed when they weren't continued. I think some careful use of that style would have actually benefitted the story. My other disappointment was that everything stayed at about a 7. Even when Leo got mad it really didn't come off as that emotional. I really just wanted a bit more of something. If not with Paige then how about when Daddy tried to bribe him into leaving. That would have been a great moment to really blow up. And then they could have cut short the very awkward pre punch scene with the ex.

All in all I would call this a good date movie, especially for an anniversary or Valentine's Day but it's not a flick I'd watch over and over. Although I do give them mad props for the use of the song "Pictures of You" at the end. It was so appropriate it was almost creepy.

Get them
The Movie
The Book
The Soundtrack
The Score

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