A Promise DVD Review

     Actors: Rebecca Hall, Alan Rickman
  • Director: Patrice Leconte
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: MPI HOME VIDEO
  • DVD Release Date: August 26, 2014
  • Run Time: 98 minutes



             There is a long history of understated romance films like A Promise, with desire abstained from because of impropriety or distance. In many regards, I felt as though I had seen this film already, but that will not subtract from the enjoyment for fans of romance films filled with more longing than physical contact. Much of this enjoyment comes from an engaging cast and capable direction from Patrice Leconte. There are some melodramatic indulgences buried in the screenplay, but credit/fault is more likely to lie at the feet of the author of the novel that the film is based on.


            The film takes place in Germany, beginning in 1912 with an ambitious new graduate, Friedrich (Richard Madden), working his way from clerical post to private secretary for the owner of a steel factory. Karl (Alan Rickman) even brings Friedrich home to live with him, alongside his son and young wife, Lotte (Rebecca Hall). There is an instant unspoken connection between Friedrich and Lotte, who are much closer in age to each other, though they are unable and somewhat unwilling to act on it. When Karl sends Friedrich to supervise the steel mines in Mexico for two years, the forbidden lovers make a plan to be together when he returns. This return is delayed even longer when war breaks out.


            The story is predictable, at times to a fault, but at least it is carried out with wonderful production values. The locations, costumes and overall look of the film is marvelous, even when the plot is a bit predictable and the dialogue is a tad cheesy. The way the narrative is set up ensures a lot of longing gazes in the first half of the film, and voiceover of letters being written as the soundtrack to the second. The DVD special features include a trailer.


    Entertainment Value: 6.5/10

    Quality of Filmmaking: 7.5/10

    Historical Significance:  6/10

    Special Features: 1.5/10

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