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A Promise

3.7 out of 5 stars 86 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Germany, 1912. Friedrich (Richard Madden, Cinderella), a graduate of humble origins, takes up a clerical post in a steel factory, soon becoming the elderly owner Karl s (Alan Rickman, Harry Potter) private secretary and boarder. There he meets Lotte (Rebecca Hall, Iron Man 3), Karl s reserved and beautiful young wife. Starting an illicit romance, the two young lovers dreams are dashed when Karl announces he s sending his secretary to oversee his mines in Mexico. But Lotte makes a promise to Friedrich: when he returns in two years, she will be his no matter what. With the later outbreak of World War I prohibiting his return to Germany, Friedrich must wait eight long years before returning to Europe and finding out if the woman he pines for has kept her promise during that brutal passage of time. With lush period detail, director Patrice Leconte s A PROMISE is a sumptuous testament to the enduring power of love.

Product Details

  • Actors: Rebecca Hall, Alan Rickman
  • Directors: Patrice Leconte
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Unrated
    Not Rated
  • Studio: MPI HOME VIDEO
  • DVD Release Date: August 26, 2014
  • Run Time: 98 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (86 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00KD64KS4
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #47,989 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Amazon Video Verified Purchase
It is probably a matter of personal taste when watching a story of forbidden love as to how it is portrayed. There have been many that have gone before "A Promise" that have moved readers and audiences alike. Frankly, it's old tale of elderly man, young wife, and introduction of handsome contender who falls for the forbidden fruit. As much as I like Alan Rickman, I found this movie to be a slow-moving tale lacking the passion I hoped to encounter.

Alan plays the elderly owner of a foundry, Karl Hoffmeister, with an ailing heart. Enters Friedrich Zeitz, who he takes under his wing as his protege. It's apparent from the beginning he is grooming the young, intelligent man to take over his business. Early in their relationship, he discloses the secret that he is not well. As he methodically allows the young handsome Friedrich to enter his home and take up residence, you gain the sense that he has purposely brought him close to his wife to encourage something more. Perhaps, it is the love of an older, dying man for his young wife to make sure her needs are met after his demise. Little did he know, that having done so, he finds himself brokenhearted when she does fall for Friedrich.

Rebecca Hall plays the proper wife, though slightly dull. Richard Madden plays the protege, who is immediately attracted to Heir Hoffmeister's wife. He turns into a sappy, slightly obsessive worshiper of young Charlotte.In one scene he smells her scent and kisses the keys of the piano that she has played, as if he's making love to it. Of course, that is countered later in the movie with Charlotte sniffing the pillow of his empty bed.

The two are thrown together due to Heir Hoffmeister's ill health attending the opera and other activities.
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Format: DVD
Love is an emotion that defies all explanation or understanding. While beauty is in the eye of the beholder, love remains something that can be seen by those around you, but often times the how and the why of it remains as elusive to everyone and every observer in the vicinity. All we truly know is that the heart wants what the heart wants, and this can make for some incredibly sleepless nights as well as some horrifically frustrating days. In the end, it will mean only what it’s supposed to mean to those who’ve felt it most spiritually – in their hearts and souls – especially when it’s taken so very long to achieve whatever fulfillment it promises.

(NOTE: The following review will contain minor spoilers necessary solely for the discussion of plot and/or characters. If you’re the type of reader who prefers a review entirely spoiler-free, then I’d encourage you to skip down to the last three paragraphs for my final assessment. If, however, you’re accepting of a few modest hints at ‘things to come,’ then read on …)

From the product packaging: “Germany, 1912. Friedrich (Richard Madden, Game of Thrones), a graduate of humble origins, takes up a clerical post in a steel factory, soon becoming the private secretary and boarder of elderly owner Karl (Alan Rickman, Harry Potter). There he meets Lotte (Rebecca Hall, Vicky Cristina Barcelona), Karl’s reserved and beautiful young wife. Starting an illicit romance, the two young lovers’ dreams are dashed when Karl announces he’s sending his secretary to oversee his mines in Mexico. But Lotte makes a promise to Friedrich: when he returns in two years, she will be his no matter what.
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Format: Amazon Video
A PROMISE is an exquisitely beautiful very quiet film based on Stefan Zweig's novel `Journey Into The Past', sensitively transformed into a screenplay by writer/director Patrice Laconte (Monsieur Hire, The Hairdresser's Husband, The Widow of Saint-Pierre, Intimate Strangers etc) and co-writer Jérôme Tonnerre (Intimate Strangers, Un Coeur en Hiver, My Father's Glory etc). The story is enhanced in the film version so well because of the cast of fine actors and because of the atmospheric, very important musical score by Gabriel Yared.

Staying very close to Zweig's novel, the story is set in Germany just before WWI and is 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. Young Friederich Zeitz Richard Madden) has humble origins, but rises to the attention of his new boss, Karl Hoffmeister (Alan Rickman). Karl is aging and suffers from severe heart disease and his impression of Friederich's brilliance grows steadily. As he volunteers to tutor his employer's son Otto (Toby Murray), he gets more and more attached to Karl's young wife Lotte (Rebecca Hall). 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 one another they will stay true to each other, but the oncoming war keeps them apart for far longer than expected. After six years, Friedrich goes back to Germany and finally sweeps Lotte off her feet.

Rickman, Hall and Madden deliver perfectly crafted performances, each revealing the difficulty of keeping a promise when personal needs are not being fulfilled.
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