John and Ellen have been married for over two decades. They have done everything together over the years and are still in love after all this time. John and his brother built a successful business while Ellen was a recognized teacher. They had two children whom they love. However, one day, their seemingly perfect world comes crashing down when Ellen suddenly develops Alzheimer’s disease. John is faced with hard choices as Ellen loses memory after memory and becomes increasingly confused. Will he be able to stand up under the weight of it all and remain faithful?
Production Quality (2 points)
Though Worldwide Pictures did a majority of their movie making in the 1980s and 1990s, they perfected a production model that no other Christian film makers could successfully replicate at the time. A Vow to Cherish is one of those productions—it has great camera work and good sets, locations, and props. Audio quality is fine, although the soundtrack is a bit average. Video quality is also acceptable considering the time frame, yet it could be a little better. Some of the indoor scenes are poorly lit, but outside scenes are shot well. Finally, the editing is quite good and makes for a good watch. Overall, this is a great production for the time period and shows what a film maker can do if they truly care about quality.
Plot and Storyline Quality (1.5 points)
Based on a novel by Deborah Raney, A Vow to Cherish is a very engaging and intriguing story. It highlights the little-focused-on issue of aging and dementia as it portrays the progression of this debilitating disease very well, including a commitment to medical realism. The progression of time in this sort of story can be difficult to properly handle, but A Vow to Cherish does so very well. However, it is not without its issues, as the dialogue is largely designed to move the plot along and to tell information without showing it to the audience. While the characters are mostly believable, there is a slightly unnecessary and unrealistic dichotomy between Christian characters and non-Christian characters. Yet the struggles of these characters are meaningful and believable—thus, the audience is able to connect with them on some level. But at the same time, there are too many underdeveloped subplots and characters that we would like to get to know better. Overall, with an honest Christian message, A Vow to Cherish is a mixed bag plot with the potential to go further. Thus, it warrants an average rating.
Acting Quality (2 points)
Worldwide Pictures was always able to assemble professional casts, and this film is no exception. Line delivery is great, but some emotions seem forced and wooden. Yet this cast does an excellent job portraying those who struggle with mental illness and those who care for them. Overall, this is a job well done.
Even during the 90s, when good Christian movies were nearly impossible to come by, Worldwide Pictures demonstrated a commitment to producing quality films that were unfortunately unrivaled for their time period. Though they are not the best, movies like A Vow to Cherish are still enjoyable today and definitely worth your time. Current Christian film makers can learn a lot from the models used to make WWP movies; there are many newer films that unfortunately never made it to this point.
Final Rating: 5.5 out of 10 points