McAdams’ performance a bright spot in ‘The Vow’

by Isabella Place

It’s official: The only thing sweeter than Rachel McAdams is a 5-pound sack of sugar. That being
said, how did “The Vow” fall just short of a complete disappointment? It has all the right elements: a
heartthrob, tragedy and intense emotional strain. The film was even inspired by a true story, yet “The
Vow” was merely ok.

Leo (Channing Tatum) plays the handsome husband who industriously and willingly waits for the
cerebral and emotional return of his wife, Paige (McAdams), following an accident. When she regains
consciousness, everyone finds she has maintained most of her long-term memory.

As for her husband, he is a complete stranger and she feels nothing for him. The chemistry between McAdams and Tatum seems to purposefully dwindle as the film evolves. The disappointment is not in the forced lack of
chemistry, but in the waste of connection that so notably was created for these two actors early on in
the film.

The plot unfolds as quickly as the audience left the theater as the credits rolled; in some ways this is
a positive attribute. The audience is spared the details and taken right to the point within the first 10
minutes of the movie: Guy meets girl, they go on date, fall in love and get married, all within the first 10

The speedy progression of the film makes for a seemingly artsy movie about artsy people. It’s cute,
at times almost too cupcake-cute, but it works for the characters. The untraditional details of scenes,
such as the wedding, allow for a bit of comedy and wit to shine through, which is unique.

But just as quickly as the film advances, it digresses by taking the audience on a trip of flashbacks that not only
immediately become depressing, but spark thorny memories that only seem to grow for the remainder
of the film.

Audiences begin to see a colder side to McAdams’ trademarked sweetheart portrayals, but that just
her acting multi-dimensionality. As for the rest of the cast members, there really is no viewer-character
attachment as they appear awkward and uncomfortable to look at throughout the majority of the

Friends and relatives of the two main characters act only as grout to fill the gaps of unanswered
questions that both the audience and Paige seem to have. In a way, viewers can almost live vicariously
through Paige’s perplexing ordeal because they will have several questions too, and the only way to
reveal them is to wait until she discovers the truth herself.

Kim and Krickitt Carpenter are the inspiration for this love story, but the story was only inspired by
the notion; typical of Hollywood to butcher a concept and attempt to turn it into a moneymaker. The
movie is nothing like the “real” story. The actual story is largely tied to strong religious values regarding

The movie version omits this and instead centers the plot on the free will to continue a
relationship that by and large appears doomed. A more appropriate title for this film would have
been “Frustration Nation,” because what McAdams and Tatum bring to the screen mimics a slew of
other complicated relationship issues, not just physically debilitating ones.

See this film for the obstacles and twists presented therein, don’t see this film expecting to see
another “The Notebook” or “Dear John.” All things considered, although this film could have been more
appropriate as a made-for-TV movie, the film does have a rather important message: Don’t attempt to
have sex in cars: It could potentially ruin your life.

Title: “The Vow”

Distributor: Sony Pictures/Screen Gems

Director: Michael Sucsy

Release Date: Feb. 10

Grade: C+