After weeks of anticipation, The Vow left me feeling slightly cheated.
Rachel McAdams stars as Paige Collins, an artist who loses five years of her memory, including any memories of her loving husband, following an automobile accident. The film focuses on her relationship with said husband Leo, played by the charming Channing Tatum. McAdams and Tatum's amazing chemistry saves the movie, which was for the most part an enjoyable 1 hour and 44 minutes.
The true-life couple who inspired the film's central plot is every romantic moviemaker's dream. Their story proves true love overcomes all. Unfortunately, the filmmakers made an executive decision to focus primarily on the initial development of the characters' love, as well as the accident and Paige's recovery. As a result, there was almost no time spent on the aftermath of the trauma, which is what makes the story worth telling in the first place. When the camera panned out for the film's final moments, I would have gladly traded an extra 20 or 30 minutes of my time to see the romance which had originally brought me to the movie.
Paige and Leo's experiences create a touching display of the love story we do get to see. The movie has a number of heart-warming scenes, such as the couple's first date following the tragic incident. For most of the movie, the obvious love portrayed by the two actors had me grinning like a middle schooler in the throes of a first crush. The film presents the struggles the couple faces with sincerity and genuine emotion.
Leo Collins is an incredibly endearing character, and Tatum's obvious good looks only add to his evident charm. From beginning to end, Leo is the hero of the movie, and everyone watching is whole-heartedly rooting for him to win back his wife's love.
Paige's character has multiple layers and dimensions. McAdams, as usual, does a respectable job of reaching into the depths of her character. Her infectious laughter and easy humor have rightfully made her one of the favorite actresses of her generation. Her character, though, is less likeable than the typical McAdams persona, and a good portion of the movie shows Paige in an unfavorable light. In a surprising departure from the audience's expectations, Paige's rebellion against the constraints of high society factors significantly into the film. While this conflict is definitely an important part of Paige's life, the focus on it and her struggle to re-define herself following the accident steals time away from the romance which brought viewers to the theater in droves.
Overall, The Vow is a nice movie with a great story line and sparkling chemistry, but its surprising shortage of romance will make many viewers feel like they've been left at the alter.