The Vow - Blu-ray Review

'Tatum and McAdams make a believable, sweet couple, with just the right level of quirk'

The surprise hit of early 2012, The Vow made over $10million worth of profit based just on its opening weekend US box office alone. Factor in worldwide grosses and DVD sales and you're looking at something of a mega-hit. Is this the film which forced the reshoots of the G.I. Joe sequel, having confirmed the star power of one Mr. Channing Tatum?

Out of combat armour and in to charm mode, Tatum ostensibly replaces Ryan Gosling from another strong Rachel McAdams' Romance, The Notebook. The story is strangely similar, if not the setting and time, although The Vow is more honest about its aims and intentions. There's no third act 'twist', no second narrative hiding the first, this is a straight-as-they-come tear-jerker: Tatum must help wife McAdams to remember him, she having lost her memory in a car accident.

This could have made for plenty of the type of scene you get in every Romance - think Tatum standing in the rain, whilst McAdams opens his gift - and, indeed, there is some of that (exactly that, in fact) but the real strength of the film is in how well developed Paige's (McAdams) backstory is. Following the tried and tested aspirations of hipsters everywhere, Paige has transformed over the last five years from Daddy's girl, wannabe-lawyer, to small-time, big heart, dream-chasing artist. The catch? She can only remember the pre-rebellion stuff, leaving her clinging to nefarious parent, Sam Neil.

The challenge the film sets up is one of increasing interest: if you'd taken a big risk in your life and broke free, would you take the risk again if you had the chance to start over? The Vow works at this potential cliché as a love story (Tatum and McAdams make a believable, sweet couple, with just the right level of quirk) but it also works at it as a consideration of life choices, following a character on a path many will recognise.

There's some good plotting too - lesser films would have pursued the lingering suggestion of affection between Tatum and Tatiana Maslany, instead of leaving them as just good friends and colleagues - and affably horrible turns from Scott Speedman and Neil, as token instigators of more relationship strife than one couple should have to handle.

A surprise at the box office, but also something of a surprise in the quality stakes. Sweet and well-written, with more depth than Hollywood typically allows this genre to have.



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