Reviewed by: John DeYoung
Starring: Barbara Babcock, Ken Howard, Ossie Davis, D. David Morin | Directed by: John Schmidt | Written by: Deborah Raney (book), Grenville Case (screenplay) | Distributor: World Wide Pictures
Never has there been a film that touches the true meaning of the words, “til death do us part” than the movie “A Vow To Cherish”. “White Shadow” star Ken Howard and “Hill Street Blue’s” actress, Barbara Babcock play John and Ellen Brighton, a happily married couple whose devotion to one another is as strong as their devotion to God. Also in the family is their youngest daughter Terri, played by Megan Paul, and their son Kyle, played by David Denman, who has just graduated from high school and goes away to college.
The Brightons have a very blessed life. John owns a very prosperous business with his self-centered brother Phil, played by David Morin, while Ellen is a very devoted elementary school teacher. Life couldn’t be any better until tragedy strikes this wholesome family. While at a speaking engagement, Ellen faints on the platform and is rushed to the hospital. It is there that they find out Ellen is suffering from Alzheimer’s. As the memories in Ellen’s mind begin to fade, so does the foundation that the family stands on. John’s business is suffering, and Phil is ready to take over. Not to mention, John is falling for another woman he met while jogging named Julia Sinclair (played by Donna Bullock). Back at home; Terri is going through a difficult time trying to cope with her mother’s illness and the lack of her father’s attention. With his faith shattered and his marriage in jeopardy, John turns to the friend of the family and accountability partner, Alexander, played by “Promised Land” veteran, Ossie Davis.
“A Vow To Cherish” is a film every married couple should see. It shows the true spirit of what being committed to one another and to God is all about. Even though the road gets rough at times, “A Vow To Cherish” also beautifully demonstrates what 1 Peter 5:10 is saying and also what 2 Cor. 12:9 is talking about. It also shows how important the family unit is and with Jesus as the sound foundation and the love for one another, a family can get through anything.
The cast of “A Vow To Cherish” does a phenomenal job. There is not one scene that did not live up to the emotional and heartfelt tone that the movie conveyed. Ken Howard was tremendous during one scene where he renews his vows to his emotionless wife, and Megan Paul’s Terri has a touching scene with her sickly mother where she finally recognizes the face of her loving daughter. However, the one person that really deserves the encore is Barbara Babcock’s portrayal as the Alzheimer’s stricken Ellen. Babcock played this role to the max and never let up. Even without any dialogue, Babcock’s expression as the catatonic Ellen shows the sadness and the struggle this woman was going through.
“A Vow To Cherish” is a beautifully well-made movie. It is a film that is truly a blessing to see, and it never loses its emotional and soulful impact. Even with the four or five different storylines intertwining among themselves, there is a clear theme, and that is that God does not gives us anything that we can’t handle as long as you have the love from God and the love from family. On a grading scale, I give “A Vow To Cherish” an A.
Year of Release—1999