5.7/10
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22 user 43 critic

A Promise (2013)

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2:10 | Trailer
A romantic drama set in Germany just before WWI and centered on a married woman who falls in love with her husband's protégé. Separated first by duties and then by the war, they pledge their devotion to one another.

Director:

Patrice Leconte

Writers:

Patrice Leconte (screenplay), Jérôme Tonnerre (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview:
Rebecca Hall ... Lotte Hoffmeister
Alan Rickman ... Karl Hoffmeister
Richard Madden ... Friedrich Zeitz
Toby Murray Toby Murray ... Otto Hoffmeister
Maggie Steed ... Frau Hermann
Shannon Tarbet ... Anna
Jean-Louis Sbille Jean-Louis Sbille ... Hans, the Butler
Sarah Messens Sarah Messens ... Magda, the Maid
Jonathon Sawdon ... Engineer (as Jonathan Sawdon)
Caroline Donnelly Caroline Donnelly ... Funfair Lady
Peter Kern Peter Kern ... Funfair Photographer
Andrew McIlroy Andrew McIlroy ... Pastor
Christelle Cornil Christelle Cornil ... Post Office Employee
Gordon Wilson Gordon Wilson ... Hotel COncierge
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Storyline

Young Friederich has humble origins, but rises to the attention of his new boss, Karl. As he volunteers to tutor his employer's son, he gets more and more attached to Karl's young wife Lotte. She refuses however to betray her husband even when they learn Friedrich must go to Mexico for two years to supervise a mining project for Karl. Friedrich and Lotte swear to one another they will stay true to each other, but the oncoming war keeps them apart for far longer than expected. Written by ETB

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for a scene of sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official site [Japan]

Country:

France | Belgium

Language:

English

Release Date:

16 April 2014 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

A Promessa See more »

Filming Locations:

Belgium See more »

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Box Office

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$491,204
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

One of Alan Rickman's last films. See more »

Quotes

[last lines]
Friedrich Zeitz: We walked down this very same path with Otto. You remember?
Lotte Hoffmeister: Yes. He kept running on ahead and we'd almost lost him for the umpteenth time. I kept calling him to come back. But actually I just wanted to be alone with you. We were strangers then.
Friedrich Zeitz: As now.
Lotte Hoffmeister: [responding to his touch] Don't ever leave me again. Don't ever leave me.
Friedrich Zeitz: I will never ever leave you from now on.
Lotte Hoffmeister: It took us a long time to get here.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Honest Trailers: Die Hard (2015) See more »

Soundtracks

Wien bleibt Wien
(Johann Schrammel)
© PD - (P) Fidélité Films
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
What's with the guy smelling the lady's keyboard?! That's SO creepy!
28 August 2014 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

"A Promise" is a film that I had a very hard time enjoying. While it has some lovely cinematography and some amazingly pretty scenes of pre- World War One Germany, the story itself is amazingly sterile and bereft of energy.

When the story begins, Friedrich (Richard Madden) is an amazingly capable and efficient assistant. Over time, he becomes invaluable to the boss, Herr Hoffmeister (Alan Rickman) and is his trusted aid. So, when Hoffmeister becomes ill and cannot remain on the job, he invites Friedrick to come to his home and relay his instructions to the factory. So, each day Friedrich shuttles back and forth from work to the Hoffmeister home--where he slowly begins to notice the boss' wife, Lotte Hoffmeister (Rebecca Hall). She is significantly younger than her husband and over time, she and Friedrich become more and more friendly and eventually he becomes almost like a member of the family--taking the young son and his mother on various outings. So, it's not surprising that Friedrich develops feelings for her...and then her husband sends Friedrich to be the company's liaison in Mexico. What's to become of their relationship? And, more importantly, does the audience even care?!

As I sat and watched this film, several things struck me. The entire project was very, very lifeless. Throughout EVERYTHING, Friedrich and the boss' wife showed almost no energy and there was really almost no chemistry between them. They eventually SAID they loved each other but you wonder where this came from. As for him, you can tell he's obsessed as he spends his time sniffing where the Missus had been (THIS IS SO CREEPY). But with her, you really have no idea she reciprocates the feelings during so much of the movie because she is so incredibly restrained...too restrained. For the most part, the film is about repressed feelings and you almost never see them expressed. Had you LIKED the characters, this pain would have actually made the film quite intriguing. But, because it's very difficult to care about them, the film is so very, very dull. In essence, the film lacked romance--which is BAD because it's supposed to be a romance!

I should add to this that MUCH of the film occurs during WWI and the film barely even mentions it (like it's a minor inconvenience that gets in the way of their love) and you are left baffled at so much of the film. Most baffling is the pair FINALLY meet long after the war is over...and their conversation is stilted and ultra-bizarre. I call it a case of poorly written and difficult to believe dialog and you just have to hear it to believe it. Overall, other than the lovely costumes, sets, music and cinematography, I cannot find much about "A Promise" that would get me to recommend it.

By the way, the DVD for this film follows an annoying new trend. You cannot easily play the film but must slog through many promos for other films, as the MENU feature and SKIP buttons are disabled. You can use the FAST FORWARD keys but must hit them repeatedly to skip past each ad.


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