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The Promise Review

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at SCU chapter.

The Promise is a recently released, poignant film based on real life events. Released near Armenian Genocide Remembrance day (April 24), the film is director Terry George’s masterful period piece taking place during the downfall of the Ottoman Empire and the subsequent genocide of the Armenian people.

The film traces the tale of an apothecary from a small Armenian village named Mikael Boghosian (Oscar Isaac) who travels to Constantinople to pursue his passion of studying medicine at the Imperial Medical Academy. He makes affluent connections, involving Chris Myers (Christian Bale), an American news reporter, and his girlfriend, Ana Khesarian (Charlotte Le Bon), an Armenian woman from Paris. Though Mikael has a betrothed, and Ana is lined to Chris Myers, the two can’t help but find home in one another and fall in love. Before their relationship is offered a chance, however, political tensions sweep through their lives as hatred towards Armenians escalates. Mikael avoids a draft into the army and instead is forced into a labor camp, from which he struggles for an escape. His efforts are fruitful, and he heads to his home village only to be greeted by tensions between the Turkish and Armenian neighbors who once lived together. Fearing for his life once again, he retreats into the forest.  The rest of the film documents his struggle for survival and pursuit of Ana. It is a heart-wrenching, tragic film, bringing light to a historical event that has been in the dark for too long.

With brilliant acting, lovely cinematography, and a dramatic soundtrack, The Promise is an aesthetically pleasing film. Additionally, it brings a people onto the big screen who hardly ever get a share in the spotlight. The film is definitely a step in the right direction to preserve the memories of the more than one million people massacred and displaced during the genocide. The film was praised for its historical accuracy and for its racially diverse cast by Ara Sarafian, a historian of the Armenian Genocide. Many Armenians felt the film would help others to recognize and empathize with the tragedy of the genocide, which has been denied for centuries.

The Promise is still in theaters, so next time you’re free, head on over to the theater to get a touch of the impactful film.


Bethool is in her second year studying Biochemistry and Philosophy. She loves reading all kinds of books, photography, exploring the great outdoors, and playing music.
Laurel Fisher is a senior at Santa Clara University. She is double majoring in math and French. She loves traveling, scrapbooking, and anything to do with France. In her free time, she loves taking photos of just about anything, watching Netflix, eating delicious food, going to the gym, and spending time with her friends.