Promises (2002)


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


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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. While the children only live 20 minutes away from each other, they live in completely different worlds and know hardly anything about each other. Their picture of the world is formed by the adults around them and the circumstances in which they live. As a result, the older they get, the bigger the physical, historical and emotional gap between them grows. When the protagonists speak out in an epilogue a couple of years later, it becomes apparent that all have lost their childlike innocence.


Critic Reviews for Promises

All Critics (47) | Top Critics (18)

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

Dec 9, 2002 | Full Review…

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

Nov 15, 2002 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

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.

Aug 22, 2002 | Rating: A | Full Review…

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

Jul 20, 2002 | Rating: 4/4

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.

Jun 14, 2002 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…

It's sobering, particularly if anyone still thinks this conflict can be resolved easily, or soon.

May 17, 2002 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

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.

Isaac H
Isaac H

Super Reviewer


Emotional documentary about the innocence of youth in national feuds. Powerful and informative. 97/100

Simeon Deutsch
Simeon Deutsch

Super Reviewer

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