The Promise

Certificate 12A

(2016) 133 mins

Director: Terry George
Writers: Terry George, Robin Swicord
Cinematography: Javier Aguirresarobe
Production Design: Benjamín Fernández
Music: Gabriel Yared


In 1914, Mikael (Oscar Isaac) is a young Armenian pharmacist who wants to become a doctor and decides to marry a village girl and use the dowry to pay for his education. At his uncle’s home in Constantinople, he meets Ana (Charlotte Le Bon), who tutors his young cousins. An Armenian who has lived abroad, she has returned to her homeland to reconnect with her roots, although Mikael soon learns that she is also the steady companion of the American journalist Chris Myers (Christian Bale), an AP reporter covering the mass exterminations in the hope of pricking the American conscience to take sides in the conflict. Although the love story anchors the film, it does not clutter the foreground. The emotional underpinnings of The Promise are fused with the atrocities shown onscreen rather than the question of who wins the girl.  Austin Chronicle

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There are distinct shades of Doctor Zhivago about this weighty, worthy and old-fashioned “epic” historical romance. A love triangle comprising Christian Bale, Oscar Isaac and French-Canadian actress Charlotte Le Bon plays out against a Turkey engulfed both by the First World War and by its sectarian genocide of the country’s Armenian minority. . . For all its ambition and good intentions, The Promise fails to strike quite the right balance between romance and historical exposition, and struggles to find breathing space for its sheer breadth of material, despite a generous running time. But it’s a handsomely mounted affair that performs better than many other films made in accented English, so should appeal to lovers of period romance with a bit of stamina. ”  Radio Times

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