Generally favorable reviews - based on 16 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 16
  2. Negative: 0 out of 16

Critic Reviews

  1. 100
    Beautifully crafted and brutally honest.
  2. Superb, Oscar-nominated documentary.
  3. 88
    Promises may want to unite the audience in humanitarian emotions, but it's more useful as a prod to examine what these children are learning from their schools, their leaders, and their media.
  4. 88
    Polarized world views from the mouths of babes -- unfortunately does little to mitigate this depressing image, but much to humanize both sides.
  5. Despite its lively tone and brisk editing, the project's sad epilogue -- shot two years later -- suggests that Abraham and Mohammed will be duking it out on the world's dime for some time to come.
  6. 80
    Timely and informative.
  7. Demonstrates the unusual power of thoughtful, subjective filmmaking.
  8. Promises takes a simple idea and just about breaks your heart with it.
  9. 80
    "I knew the children here had something to say," Goldberg says in voiceover early in the film. That statement may sound slightly maudlin, but the film that follows is anything but.
  10. 80
    Proves too sincere to exploit its subjects and too honest to manipulate its audience.
  11. 75
    The impact of Promises comes from the openness of the children.
  12. The filmmakers caught the kids arguing their cases like adversaries on "Judge Judy," sticking to phrases they've memorized or absorbed only too well.
  13. An earnest, roughshod document, it serves as a workable primer for the region's recent history, and would make a terrific 10th-grade learning tool.
  14. Reviewed by: David Rooney
    Provides deeply humanistic insight into the complexities of the Middle East conflict that political analysis or front-line news coverage often lacks.

Awards & Rankings

User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 9 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 3
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 3
  3. Negative: 0 out of 3
  1. MikeD.
    Mar 2, 2006
    I don't cry during movies. I cried to the point of dehydration in this one. Everyone should see this movie.