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A Promise (2014)

A Promise



Drama, Romance

Release Date

April 18, 2014 (Limited)


94 min.


IFC Films

Official Site

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REVIEWS RATE:  Critics  Not quite bad, but it's not recommended either.    Readers  Be the 1st!

Cast and Crew


Patrice Leconte


Marc Missonnier, Olivier Delbosc


Patrice Leconte, Jerome Tonnerre



Set in pre-First World War Germany, Patrice Leconte's venture into English-language filmmaking chronicles the simmering love triangle between an ailing factory owner (Alan Rickman), his young bride (Rebecca Hall) and his protege (Richard Madden).

Hoffmeister (Alan Rickman) is an ailing factory owner, whiskered and respectable. As his energies flag, he looks to a sharp young man in his employ for help. Ludwig (Richard Madden) impresses Hoffmeister with his reliability and youthful spirit, and the older man finds himself leaning more and more on this promising up-and-comer. At the same time, Hoffmeister's young bride (Rebecca Hall) is looking for a tutor for their child, and Ludwig proves both flexible and willing. When he moves into their home, an emotional triangle develops. Societal dignity and decorum must be respected, and it is. Nevertheless, heated passions come into play, while Hoffmeister looks on.

Unravelling over many years, this tale extends well beyond its set-up, and Leconte moves us through the emotional maze, making us aware of the complexities of feeling amongst all of the players. Beautifully supported by three fine actors, "A Promise" delivers on its premise. Love can take many forms before it either blooms or fades. Beneath those starched shirts and lacy blouses, feelings of respect and care rub up against those of lust and desire.

Pictures (9 photos)

Alan Rickman stars as Karl Hoffmeister and Richard Madden stars as Friedrich Zeitz in IFC Films' A Promise (2014)
Rebecca Hall stars as Lotte Hoffmeister in IFC Films' A Promise (2014)

Reader's Reviews

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“..there's probably an audience for the film out there, the Masterpiece Theatre crowd, but you have to imagine that even they would end up feeling unsatisfied by this broken 'Promise'..”
by Oliver Lyttelton [The Playlist]
“..awkward, passionless drama conveys neither the sensuality nor the drawn-out sense of longing required..”
by Justin Chang [Variety]