02 September 2014

The Vow (starring Rachel McAdams and Channing Tatum)

Paige (Rachel McAdams) and Leo (Channing Tatum) are a young married couple who are still very much in love. Leo runs a recording studio, Paige is a talented sculptress. Then a horrible accident at the end of the first scene leaves Paige with the past five years of her memory completely missing; she does not recognise her husband, and is surprised to find that she is no longer engaged to someone else.

With several flashbacks, we see what Leo and Paige’s life has been like - how they first met, what happened when they got married - and these intersperse with her physical recovery from the accident with her parents getting more and more involved.

It’s an intriguing premise, one which I would have thought was a bit unrealistic, but for the fact that this story is quite closely based on a real incident. The brain, as the doctors mention, is unpredictable - so apparently this kind of thing might potentially happen. It could have been rather maudlin but this was well made, paced exactly right in our opinion, with excellent acting from the main characters and a little humour to lighten the underlying plot. Paige’s parents were perhaps caricatured to some extent, but that didn’t matter; most of the other people involved had minor roles and I didn't even try to keep track of them.

Leo is determined to help Paige regain her memory; the film looks at the question of whether, under different circumstances, people would fall in love all over again if they had the opportunity. The vows they wrote and made at their wedding are mentioned more than once, and Leo's unselfish unconditional love for his wife is extremely moving. We found the film quite emotionally draining, perhaps because we knew that it was a true story (but did not know how it would end).

The rating is 12A or PG-13, and that seemed about right to me; I doubt if anyone younger than about 15 would be interested in this film, but it’s not inappropriate for slightly younger children. The accident at the start is quite shocking although there's nothing gory shown. Other than that, there’s occasional swearing, mostly minor, and only one (rear) nude shot.

Definitely recommended, to men as well as women.

Review by copyright 2014 Sue's DVD Reviews

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