Promised Land

2012, Drama, 1h 46m

154 Reviews 10,000+ Ratings

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critics consensus

The earnest and well-intentioned Promised Land sports a likable cast, but it also suffers from oversimplified characterizations and a frustrating final act. Read critic reviews

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Movie Info

Corporate sales partners Steve Butler (Matt Damon) and Sue Thomason (Frances McDormand) arrive in a small town to secure drilling rights for a natural-gas company. They believe that the economic decline has done their work for them and that the townspeople will happily accept whatever offer they make. However, they don't consider the objections of a respected schoolteacher (Hal Holbrook) and the leader (John Krasinski) of a grassroots campaign against the company's objective.

Cast & Crew

Critic Reviews for Promised Land

Audience Reviews for Promised Land

  • Jan 03, 2015
    For the most part, this is an engaging and thought-provoking drama with excellent dialogue and complex characters facing complex ethical issues, but it is terribly frustrating to see it all reach an unjustifiable revelation and an unconvincing - yet thematically consistent - conclusion.
    Carlos M Super Reviewer
  • Jan 19, 2014
    The film was ok, but could have been so much better. I felt like I have seen this type of film before. It was very predictable. Nothing new here. It kind of reminded me in a strange way of American President and Campaign. The performances by Damon and the cast are good, but they needed a better story. The pacing was off at times too.
    Sol C Super Reviewer
  • Nov 15, 2013
    This is a excellent film starring Matt Damon and Frances McDormand as Two Reps for a Huge Natural Gas Conglomerate that is trying to buy up land rights from farmers in a dying town. John Krasinski plays an idealist working for an activist firm, warning the townsfolk, that the fracking that destroyed his own families farm, might destroy the town. This film, directed expertly by Gus Van Sant, makes you think about farms that have been in families for generations, and it seems a world away if you have lived in large metropolitan areas your entire life. The film is essentially a moral dilemma story that encourages the viewer to investigate the issues and come to their own conclusions. This is a fine film to watch with older children, as the film encourages critical thinking. There are times in life when there are no easy answers, and its hard to tell who the good guys and bad guys are at times in this story. That is one reason this is a great film. Life can often be a muddled, dark, unclean puddle.
    Robert B Super Reviewer
  • Jul 10, 2013
    Promised Land is the sort of environmentalist drama that wears its themes on its sleeve, with clear protagonists and antagonists, set in a clear cut morality tale. This can sometimes work and even be done interestingly, but Promised Land instead opts for conventional story-lines, shallow characterizations, and predictable outcomes. It feels less like a film than a politicized commercial with a bland after-school special treatment, drawn out to over one and a half hours. The chief problem with Promised Land is the script. Everything about Promised Land feels predictable, there is no sense of ambiguity or fairness. Instead, it comes across as preachy, exceedingly liberal, and condescending. The way the townsfolk react, the melodrama of the third act, the stilted, and heavy handed dialogue, all of it feels manipulative. Add to this the fact that the film features little else than condemnations of fraking, as none of the human elements that it attempts to inject, poorly so, feel real or involving at any level. The performances are all fine, with a charismatic Matt Damon, and the always great Frances McDormand, but there is nothing to the substance of the film that allows any of the actors to bring any vibrancy to their roles. Everything feels by-the-book, conventional, one-note, and agenda-driven. Above, it's simply boring. 2.5/5 Stars
    Jeffrey M Super Reviewer

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