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Promises (2002)



Average Rating: 7.8/10
Reviews Counted: 47
Fresh: 45 | Rotten: 2

A heartbreaking and illuminating look at the Israeli and Palestinian conflict through the eyes of children.


Average Rating: 7.8/10
Critic Reviews: 18
Fresh: 17 | Rotten: 1

A heartbreaking and illuminating look at the Israeli and Palestinian conflict through the eyes of children.



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Average Rating: 4.4/5
User Ratings: 2,565

My Rating

Movie Info

Several Jewish and Palestinian children are followed for three years and put in touch with each other, in this alternative look at the Jewish-Palestinian conflict. The three filmmakers followed a group of seven local children between 1995 and 1998. They all have a totally different background. These seven children tell their own story about growing up in Jerusalem. Through this portrait of their generation, we see how deep rooted and almost insoluble the problems of the Middle East have become.

Nov 16, 2004

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All Critics (53) | Top Critics (23) | Fresh (45) | Rotten (2) | DVD (3)

Too sincere to exploit its subjects and too honest to manipulate its audience.

December 9, 2002 Full Review Source: L.A. Weekly
L.A. Weekly
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A gripping documentary that reveals how deep the antagonism lies in war-torn Jerusalem.

November 15, 2002 Full Review Source: Miami Herald
Miami Herald
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What's so extraordinary about this Oscar-nominated work is that it shows us that conflict through the eyes of seven bright, funny, thoughtful kids, ages 9 to 13, on both sides.

August 22, 2002 Full Review Source: Dallas Morning News
Dallas Morning News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Beautifully crafted and brutally honest, Promises offers an unexpected window into the complexities of prejudice.

July 20, 2002 Full Review Source: Chicago Tribune
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Every individual will see the movie through the prism of his or her own beliefs and prejudices, but the one thing most will take away is the sense that peace is possible. That, in itself, is extraordinary.

June 14, 2002 Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Beautifully explains the ongoing Middle East conflict.

December 16, 2004

If there's one big point to Promises, it's that nothing can change while physical and psychological barriers keep the sides from speaking even one word to each other.

March 11, 2003 Full Review Source: Offoffoff

A profoundly moving document...The filmmakers' refusal to downplay the situation's intractability makes the glimmer of hope the film offers that much more powerful.

January 4, 2003 Full Review Source: All Movie Guide
All Movie Guide

If nothing else, this balanced and moving film is both informative and entertaining.

January 2, 2003 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

The children are all so beautiful and smart and it's heartbreaking when they talk about death as casually as they talk about soccer.

December 20, 2002 Full Review Source:

Give Shapiro, Goldman, and Bolado credit for good intentions, but there's nothing here that they couldn't have done in half an hour.

December 9, 2002 Full Review Source: Sacramento News & Review
Sacramento News & Review

What emerges is an unsettling picture of childhood innocence combined with indoctrinated prejudice. Promises is a compelling piece that demonstrates just how well children can be trained to live out and carry on their parents' anguish.

December 1, 2002 Full Review
Martha's Vineyard Times (Massachusetts)

Promises is one film that's truly deserving of its Oscar nomination.

July 19, 2002 Full Review Source: Deseret News, Salt Lake City
Deseret News, Salt Lake City

Even these tales of just seven children seem at times too many, although in reality they are not enough. Every child's story is what matters. This film can only point the way -- but thank goodness for this signpost.

July 14, 2002 Full Review Source: Boxoffice Magazine
Boxoffice Magazine

It deserves to be seen by anyone with even a passing interest in the events shaping the world beyond their own horizons.

July 12, 2002 Full Review Source: Jam! Movies
Jam! Movies

A powerful and heart-rending documentary.

June 18, 2002 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

It's worth seeing just on the basis of the wisdom, and at times, the startling optimism, of the children.

April 12, 2002 Full Review Source: PopMatters

Audience Reviews for Promises

By the end, the children are fleshed out and endearingly likable, and their opinions are eye-opening and well realized by the filmmakers. Unfortunately, Promises is undone by a bloated running time and a over-dependence on dull interviews and voiceovers.
May 19, 2012
Isaac H

Super Reviewer

Emotional documentary about the innocence of youth in national feuds. Powerful and informative. 97/100
February 2, 2011
Over the Rising Sun
Simeon Deutsch

Super Reviewer

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