Movie Review: The Vow(2012) And Thoughts On Love

This is a movie review and a reflection upon love at the movies and love in general. Life has been hectic and crazy with school. I have 5 classes right now and they all seem to be dominating, expecially my Psych class. Secondly, why do I go to movies alone, now? No, I do not feel alone or as if I don’t have friends I just treat it like escape and education all in one, and sometimes being alone is better for me to take it in, and if I feel like crying I am not embarassed( like we bought a zoo, totally some tears!)

I am driving back from St. Joe’s museum of crazy people(not the real name!) and I am thinking the movie theatre furtherest from where I live and on the way home would be the best place to see this movie. I figure on a Friday afternoon, who would I run into? And indeed, I was alone with a ton of other couples who were not.

I studdered when I bought my ticket and wore my Trader Joe’s hoodey over my head to make sure I stayed looking like an assaasin or an abandoned kid. I am ethnic(middle east baby!) so maybe that could fly!

And I really should have not felt so embarassed to be by myself. I saw Descendants, Margin Call, Safehouse, Chronicle and MI4(ran into some friends on that one) all on my own and Margin Call happened to be a huge waste of time and Safehouse, well was not Bourne, so let’s move on from that.

The Vow in its entirety was as an exceptional movie but also a Romantic Comedy, very typical, but a typical that worked this time. This film really, really moved me and I really was not expecting that. All my pretentions were actor/delivery concerns. Rachel McAdams, whom is one of my favorites with Morning Glory being one of my favorites of the past 2 years, easily. And as much as most people I know have a very sharp bipolarity towards The Notebook, she really ruled in that movie.

But Channing Tatum, he was more the concern of o, boy this could kind of stink. I never saw Dear John but knowing Nicholas Sparks I am sure it was good. Now, writing the book does not equal good acting. Because The Last Song, which has Miley Cyrus in it–was not very good. And mostly because its Miley, what more can you expect?

Channing Tatum is working his way up. He is becoming more prolific and pressing through the bad ones. I am remembering my 2006 days of working at the Palazzo 16 as a bathroom cleaner and wathcing She’s The Man, which was pretty horrific and he was sort of transitioning out of modeling into acting. Much younger at the time and looking to make a name for himself. Films like GI-Joe certainly don’t and did not make room for good acting. And Fighting is on my list for worst-films-of-all-time(hyphens not needed).

The Son Of No One, which I havent’ seen kind of looks like Vin Diesal’s A  Man Apart and could be a good gritty cop film because Ray Liotta is always busting people up and is very good at being disgusting.

Haywire looks like a minor role for him but now here we are at The Vow. Love is one of those themes that never gets old and is always trying to reinvent itself. Its also the hardest category, in my opinon. Because you are always having to portray the fight for love for a good hour and 40 minutes and then end it somehow with the RomCom kiss that also never gets old. Passive/aggressive also helps avoid some folderol plot lines that could create much adolescent disaster, even for adults.

The theme of amnesia is also not new which is why I had many doubts going into this one. But this film got me for sure and partly because I am a sucker for love, watching it by myself thinking I should have a girl friend and since Rachel McAdams is probably taken, not gonna happen any time soon. HA! There is humor in me, just letting some of it come out. But here’s the overview then more thoughts.

The Vow is about two fairly young people who fall in love very fast. Date quickly and get married somewhat quickly and give their wedding vows on the run in a building in Chicago.  “I vow to love you in all your forms”, Leo says…I vow to fiercly love you!” Both Leo and Paige fall very fast. 5 years of their lives go by and one night in the snow as they are leaving a date spot Paige takes her seat belt off to kiss her man and a truck hits the car and she goes flying out the windshield. Leo bangs his head but he had his seat belt on.

They get hospitalized and she wakes up with memory loss. Not permanent at first and not long term, she only really forgets the last 5 years. Leo is distraught, confused, hurting and now in a struggle to help his wife remember him.

The rest of the film is one big “fall in love with me again” ploy by Leo. Its step by step with all the right kind of conflict. The theme of fearing your past and rewriting it come up multiple times. As Paige has kind of blowhard parents that want the best but in their selfish conniving ways. They try to get her to live with them, they really don’t seem to like Leo and in the end gets  figured out that her dad had an affair and Paige doesnt’ realize it until the end of the film. Forgiveness and do overs certainly also comes up and I disagree with the horrid Rotten Tomatoes people that this film is overly sentimental and shallow.

Tatutm delivers better then I had expected. And Rachel McAdams always delivers, which is expected. Together they make a great team.

Love is tricky on the screen because its always a slew of overly cheasy films that ruin our hope for something new. Love is incredibly childish and adolescent like in many adult films. Some films take the lives of sitcoms like Seinfeld and recreate children as adults or adults who don’t want to mature and grow up. To often love is portrayed as not costing anything, not being worth a fight.

I appreciated Crazy, Stupid, Love, which I only saw the later half by accident but its notion of loving someone since age 11 or whenever Steve Carell got ice cream with his future wife. It was different and had much turmoil and conflict.

But golden lines in The Vow really kept me going into more reflection. “I will find my way back to you.”

“You did it once, you can do it again!”

Love cost something. Love always fights and never does give up. At the end when Paige says,  “thank you for always accepting me!” That is the key to the whole thing. Love does not demand that you change who you are, it simply fights for you where you are at. I strongly hate the cynicism but it needs to happen at times because we are to be challenged in films. If you are always watching, then you are always learning. And sometimes poor education takes place.

Tatum’s voice over is a little over the top and reminds me of Don Cheadle’s voice in crash because it sounds similar but its the classic way of telling the story, but can not be done well, so its not a dealbreaker for sure. 

Also remember, its not the Notebook. I was greatly wondering that. Its kind of the same but different times in life. The Notebook was the end of life and forgetting at the end what was once in the beginning. This is more aboiut just forgetting what has just been very new. 5 years is different then a whole lifetime. Sort of like when Source Code came out and you wanted to compare it to Inception. Not a fair comparison because they are different but with much similarities. Its helpful to treat each film as its own piece of work and let that speak to you while also using other films to aid in your understanding.

This is anti what I said but really funny review:

Love is always going to need to be redone and represented in new ways. I suggest you watch this movie and look for the nuance. Overbiting smiles are are a must and much kissing also a must but try to look and listen to what is being said. Fear of the past, fear of remembering and that gnawing ache to start over slides in between lines of cost and consequence.

Next time, I am taking a girl with me:)

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