Sunday, July 1, 2012

The Vow (2012)

Director: Michael Sucsy (1)

Cast: Channing Tatum (2), Rachel McAdams (3), Sam Neil (4), Jessica Lange (5), Scott Speedman (6)

My favourite quote - 
"I chose to stay with him for all the things that he had done right, and not to leave him for the one thing that he had done wrong. I chose to forgive him" and "You accepted me for who I am, and not for what you wanted me to be"

Just a week ago, my uncle whom I am pretty close to had just gotten married. And it got me thinking about marriage and having someone special to go home to. And when they were saying their vows, I was wondering if I would one day find someone special to say those marriage vows to. And that if and when I am getting married, I would write my own vows, unique to me and my partner and say those vows with God and my family and friends as witness. In the film, I really enjoyed the unique vows said by Leo and Paige played by Channing Tatum and Rachel McAdams. 

Paige: I vow to help you love life, to always hold you with tenderness and to have the patience that love demands, to speak when words are needed and to share the silence when they are not, and to live within the warmth of your heart and always call it home. 

Leo: I vow to fiercely love you in all your forms, now and forever. I promise to never forget that this is a once in a lifetime love. I vow to love you, and no matter what challenges might carry us apart, we will always find a way back to each other. 

Wedding vows are not to be taken lightly. When you say your "I dos" you are promising to love that person, in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer, for better or for worse, till death do you part. The Vow is about this very promise between a man and a woman. Not everyone gets put to the test in the same manner as the characters in the film. And of course we hope people don't have to ever go through this. But if they do, or if I do in the future face a situation like this, I hope that I will be able to get through it like these characters have. 

The quote that affected me the most in this film was uttered by Paige Collins' mother played by Jessica Lange. If it happened to me, would I be able to forgive my husband for cheating on me? Would I be able to look past his one discretion and stay with him? I don't know if I can or will. And I do hope I will never have to face such a dilemma. But, I do believe that that quote, is what a marriage is about. You will have tough times, you might make each other angry or do things that hurt your partner, but the important thing is that you have promised to keep trying and working on the marriage no matter what happens. 

The other quote that struck me deeply was said by Rachel McAdams' Paige Collins - "You accepted me for who I am, and not who you wanted me to be". That is what a marriage partnership is about as well. No one is perfect, but you might be that perfect someone for one other imperfect person. I am who I am. And one day, I might meet someone who accepts me for who I am, and will compliment me the same way I compliment him. 

You know how jigsaw puzzle pieces need to fit perfectly to form the picture. I think that is how I see relationships. The jigsaw piece is made just the way it is, and if you have to force a piece to fit with another, the end result is not the way its supposed to be. If its meant to be, its meant to be isn't it?

"The moment of impact. The moment of impact proves potential for change. Has ripple effects far beyond what we can predict. Sending some particles crashing together. Making them closer than before. While sending others spinning off into great ventures. Landing them where you've never thought you've found them. That's the thing about moments like these. You can't, no matter how hard you try, control how it's going to affect you. You just gotta let the colliding part go where they may. And wait for the next collision." Yes, people change. And change is the only constant in life, but what I mean is that at the very core of who you are, your partner should accept you, and stand by you no matter what. And old friend of mine who reconnected with me after a few years of non-communication once said that my core personality hasn't changed over the years, I am still who I am. Maybe a little wiser, maybe a little stronger, or maybe a little more jaded, but still same old me. Initially I was disappointed that he thought that I never changed for the better, but I think I'm starting to understand a little about what he's talking about. But I digress. What will you do if one day your partner goes bankrupt? Will you leave him or stick by him? What if one day your spouse loses a limb or two? Will you stay by his side to take care of him? Or will divorce him? You cannot stop or control what happens in your life. You can however control how you react to the situation. I guess every relationship is different and there isn't any right or wrong answer for each unique situation. But the important thing is to make sure that you've tried to do everything you possibly can to salvage the situation.

In any rom-com, the important thing is for the right actors to be casted to play the leads. When I watched The Vow, it was strange to see Channing Tatum and Rachel McAdams play a couple. And to be honest, I think that while they are great actors in their own right, I still feel that there's something lacking in their onscreen chemistry. They still managed to sell the idea that they were a loved-up couple because they were very decent actors, but I felt that there weren't any sparks flying on the big screen. I love the story, and the way they played their characters. I definitely felt the frustration and sadness both Channing Tatum's Leo and Rachel McAdams' Paige felt. But the two of them as a couple didn't quite work for me. After watching the chemistry between Andrew Garfield's Peter Parker and Emma Stone's Gwen Stacy in The Amazing Spider-Man the night before, I know that I wasn't blown away by the onscreen chemistry between Leo and Paige. 

This film and the concept of memory loss is a theme in many films, and this really reminds me of the film 50 First Dates. A man who constantly has to remind his wife who he is and their life together. The Vow is more realistic because it is based on the true story of Kim and Krickitt Carpenter. Also, at the heart of 50 First Dates, its a romantic comedy, while The Vow leans towards the romantic drama genre. I think it is the story and the individual performances by Channing Tatum and Rachel McAdams that made the film work. 

Memory loss. Channing Tatum's Leo has a line that really made me think about the moments in my life, good or bad. "Life's all about moments, of impact and how it changes our lives forever. But what if one day, you could no longer remember any of them?" I've had a number of failed relationships before and I remember being so hurt and being in so much pain that I wished that I would be able to suffer a memory loss and forget all the pain I felt. Do you ever feel that way too? But on retrospect, I'd rather have the whole picture, and life with all the good and bad, than to have holes in my life, not knowing why or how things got to the way they are now. When bad things happen or relationships fail, reflect on what went wrong and what you can learn from the situation. And then, the next time you get into another relationship, you know what you shouldn't do so that history won't repeat itself. 

But in the case of Paige, its different. She lost her memory, but despite not remembering parts of her past, she eventually arrived at the same conclusion about what she wants in life and who she wants to be. It really makes me feel the full impact of the concept of "its meant to be". Its not something everyone believes in. But for me, I do believe in that. And The Vow reinforces that belief in me. Ultimately, I think what we're all looking for in a partner is someone who will stand by you when the chips are down. And even if they cannot fix what's broken, they will die trying so to speak. And sometimes, we need a little time alone to figure things out, but if you are destined to be with someone, even after you walk away, you will both find your way back to each other. "If you love her, let her go" - If Channing Tatum's Leo didn't let Rachel McAdams' Paige have the space and time to find her own way back on her own two feet, the story may not have the same ending. And if Leo didn't allow himself to forgive Paige and let her back into his life, then perhaps it wasn't meant to be after all. 

(1) Director Michael Sucsy the directed film Grey Gardens (2009) and he is currently attached to direct a film based on the novel When You Were Mine by Rebecca Serle, titled Rosaline. A film that focuses on the point of view of the lady Romeo claimed to love before he met Juliet. 

(2) Channing Tatum has acted in films like Coach Carter (2005), She's The Man (2006), Step Up (2006), Stop-Loss (2006), Fighting (2009), Public Enemies (2009), G.I. Joe: The Rise Of The Cobra (2009), Dear John (2010), 21 Jump Street (2012), Magic Mike (2012), and G.I. Joe: Retaliation (2013).

(3) Rachel McAdams has acted in films like The Hot Chick (2002), Mean Girls (2004), The Notebook (2004), Wedding Crashers (2005), The Family Stone (2005), State Of Play (2009), The Time Traveller's Wife (2009), Sherlock Holmes (2009), Morning Glory (2010), Midnight In Paris (2011), Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows (2011), and To The Wonder (2012). 

(4) Sam Neill has acted in films like The Hunt For Red October (1990), Memoirs Of An Invisible Man (1992), The Piano (1993), Jurassic Park (1993), Event Horizon (1997), The Horse Whisperer (1998), Bicentennial Man (1999), Jurassic Park III (2001), Dirty Deeds (2002), and Wimbledon (2004). He has also voiced the character of Allomere in Legend Of The Guardian: The Owls of Ga'Hoole (2010).

(5) Jessica Lange has acted in films like King Kong (1976), The Postman Always Rings Twice (1981), Tootsie (1982),  Rob Roy (1995), and Big Fish (2003).

(6) Scott Speedman has acted in films like Underworld (2003), Underworld: Evolution (2006), and The Moth Diaries (2011).

The Eclectic Reviewer thinks… The Vow has something lacking to make it a great film, however, it has a strong message that helps keep it afloat. Its a film I would watch again to remind myself what a relationship, what a marriage should be about; and that is love, understanding, respect, hard work, forgiveness, and communication. (2.8 of 5)

* Movie Poster from Wikipedia

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