The Vow

Movie review by
S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media
The Vow Movie Poster Image
Predictable romantic drama lacks depth.
  • PG-13
  • 2012
  • 104 minutes

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 9 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 30 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive messages

The movie's main messages are that we should accept everything that comes our way and try to take it in stride and that love can conquer all (even if "all" includes extreme amnesia and strong parental opposition). Also, if you love someone, set them free. If it's meant to be, it will be.

Positive role models & representations

Leo is very patient and gentle with Paige, who tries to respond in kind but doesn't always succeed. Their friends appear very supportive. And even Paige's parents, though deeply flawed, come around in the end. On the other hand, the movie doesn't present Paige as particularly strong/empowered, especially post-accident; it's as if it robbed her of the ability to think for herself. And a family snubs a young man apparently because he's not as well-off as they are (they have the bigger house, better car, more expensive clothes, etc.).

Violence

A pivotal car crash sends one main character through a windshield, with glass breaking and serious injury. One guy punches another. Some yelling.

Sex

A man's naked backside is glimpsed; but even more frequently on display are his pectorals, since he often appears shirtless. A woman strips to her underwear to jump into a lake. Some kissing and making out. A couple is shown entwined under a sheet; they're presumably naked underneath.

Language

Fairly infrequent use of words like "s--t," "c--k," "d--k," "hell," "goddamn," "ass," "damn," and "oh my God."

Consumerism
Drinking, drugs & smoking

Some social drinking at parties and restaurants.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this true story-inspired emotional drama, which is cut from the same cloth as the very romantic The Notebook, also stars Rachel McAdams (here she plays a young artist who wakes up from a coma with absolutely no idea that she's happily married to Channing Tatum). It's a tearjerker that deals with some heavy material, including family estrangement, infidelity, divorce, loss, and identity. Expect sexual innuendo, kissing and making out, and partial nudity (a man's backside), as well as some swearing ("s--t," etc.) and social drinking. The sexual content is presented within the context of a couple's deep love for each other.

User Reviews

Parent Written bymothercares February 10, 2012

Male nudity - Not for kids

There are scenes with man in tight clothing on his lower part of body. A scene shows him naked from behind. Very bad movie.
Adult Written bynew man February 10, 2012

probably great

parents need to know that this is probably going to be the wining movie betwene adult and teen coupels but please keep in mind that this movie is rated pg13 and... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old March 2, 2012

It's a No for Immature Kids of Under 13

After I watched this movie with my friend at the movie theater, I was extremely surprised that both of our mothers allowed us to go see it. It has a wide variet... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byabi_ctr_maddi February 24, 2012

Advice?!!!!

I haven't seen it yet, but I wanted to know if it was worth it, or if I should just see another one. Please give me your input parents...I would really app... Continue reading

What's the story?

Paige (Rachel McAdams) and Leo (Channing Tatum) lead an enchanted life, falling in love beautifully and quickly. But in a literal and figurative "moment of impact," as Leo describes it, their world shifts. A truck rear-ends them, sending Paige through the front window, the glass breaking into bits, taking her memories of Leo with them. When she awakes from a coma, Paige no longer can remember being married. In fact, she has forgotten years before they even met, he's a total stranger to her, and she's not sure she can fall in love with him again. What happens to them now?

Is it any good?

THE VOW wants so badly for audiences to care, and that's one of its biggest flaws: It tries too hard. From the drama-heavy set-up to the ponderous dialogue -- which repeatedly reminds viewers that a) Tatum's character is such a good guy and b) Paige can't remember him, and how deeply tragic is that? -- it just won't quit. And you want to care -- how could you not? McAdams, just like her former beau/Notebook co-star, Ryan Gosling, is effortless at being authentic. When she cries, they seem like real tears. She's the best part of the movie.

But Channing Tatum is no Ryan Gosling. He's likable enough -- and clearly gifted with a handsome physique (which is displayed quite frequently). But there's no there. His acting doesn't have the depth that McAdams deserves. The plot feels like it could have been written decades ago (save for the obvious hipster references); it's anachronistic and dated. Would an adult like Paige really let her parents speak for her and make decisions for her? To, frankly, infantilize her? She's suffering from amnesia, not complete incapacitation. The Vow is a paint-by-numbers tearjerker, and that's as frustrating as a broken promise.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about The Vow's messages about relationships. What is it saying about marriage? The nature of love? Parents, talk to your teens about your own values regarding relationships.

  • Do you consider Paige a role model? Why does she let others make decisions for her? How does she break out of this rut?

  • The movie was inspired by true events. How accurate do you think it is? Why might filmmakers change the details of a true story when making a movie?

Movie details

For kids who love romantic tearjearkers

Our editors recommend

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality and learning potential.

Learn how we rate