The Vow: Season 1 Reviews

March 17, 2021
The documentarians behind The Vow are most interested in the shame and responsibility that NXIVM's whistleblowers feel. They're also uninterested in: coherent timelines; the complicity of Edmonson, Vicente, and others.
December 2, 2020
What this series does so fantastically is destroy the myth of people who believe they're 'too smart' to 'fall for' a cult.
November 12, 2020
The pace at times is agonizingly slow, with lots of footage of Vicente scrolling through his email or Edmondson on the phone. But with all that overkill, it's also badly muddled, missing the big picture story of NXIVM by getting too far in the weeds.
November 9, 2020
Without external voices in the mix, The Vow becomes less a documentary series than an artfully made exercise in spinning a story.
November 6, 2020
"WTF?" seems the only possible response, but bizarre as the NXIVM project was, the message here is that there's no immunity to cultish thought and behaviour.
Full Review | Original Score: 5/5
October 14, 2020
The Vow provides an illuminating front row seat to the unimaginable, navigating the murky waters of a cult with dignity toward its subjects.
September 27, 2020
the cumulative effect ends up being powerful, and what I find so compelling is just being there in the moment with people as they discuss what to do, and wrestle with what they've done
Full Review | Original Score: A-
September 11, 2020
Docu of scandalized cultish self-help group is eye-opening.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
August 31, 2020
The Vow eschews expectations and becomes a rich and surprisingly empathetic examination of an often-sensationalized topic.
August 24, 2020
The Vow benefits from access to people like Vicente and Edmondson, plus lots of footage from various NXIVM organizational videos, meetings, and other insightful stuff.
August 24, 2020
The rare true crime series to mostly justify its length; it effectively if sometimes confusingly winds through a remarkable trove of primary source footage and recordings to demystify the insidious appeal of Nxivm's devil's bargain.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
August 24, 2020
It's chilling to witness their clarity as they process their guilt and complicity and The Vow unravels more of NXIVM's dark side.
August 24, 2020
"The Vow" should inspire conversation. It just takes a few episodes to get there.
Full Review | Original Score: C+
August 24, 2020
The Vow does a service to its subjects by humanizing their plight-and to its audience by helping us understand.
August 24, 2020
The emotional center of the piece turns out to be Vicente, a documentary filmmaker now wracked with guilt over his inadvertent role in persecuting the women, and his sense of betrayal toward his former boss and teacher.
Full Review | Original Score: B
August 24, 2020
The Vow lays bare the many ways Raniere and his team used this philosophy - on its face a tool for emotional empowerment - to shame people into suppressing their doubts about the program.
Full Review | Original Score: A-
August 24, 2020
An impressive and even transfixing achievement. It uses the viewer's curiosity about branding and sex cults to tell a valuable and engrossing tale about gullibility, trust and the human desire to put one's faith in a leader who promises the real Answer.
August 24, 2020
The generous peppering of insider NXIVM videos throughout The Vow renders the dorky, soft-spoken Raniere... a thoroughly unimpressive figure, while providing visual relief from the many talking-head interviews.
August 24, 2020
"The Vow," by contrast, plunges so deep into this bizarre world that it stands apart from the crowd. Even stretched to nine chapters, its immersive look into how cults can flourish delivers, in TV terms, a different kind of manual for success.
August 24, 2020
The measured pacing and focus on NXIVM exposition makes The Vow drag occasionally in its initial episodes. But as this multilayered saga unfolds, that approach becomes an asset.