30 May 2016 | MartinHafer
Sadly revealing a dark secret about mental illness...
"Promise" is an exceptionally good made for television movie. The acting is wonderful but it also is well worth seeing because it exposes a serious and usually neglected problem...the lack of programs to deal with the millions of folks dealing with mental illnesses.
When the film begins, Bob (James Garner) is dealing with his mother's death. However, what you don't initially see is Bob's brother, D.J. (James Woods)...another responsibility Bob needs to take care of now that their mother is dead. It seems that D.J. is chronically mentally ill and is unable to care for himself...and that sure complicates Bob's life. He clearly wants nothing to do with D.J. but he promised his mother long, long ago that he'd watch over D.J. after her death. Much of the film consists of Bob learning to care about this estranged brother as well as his coming to realize that this responsibility is just too much for him to handle.
This is naturally a sad film. What's worse is that it exposes a serious unspoken problem--that there simply are very few facilities to deal with the severely mentally ill--whether in-patient or within the community. There are waiting lists, expenses and other hurdles the average person might not be able to handle...and the film is about Bob's struggle with this and his promise. Well done in every way but be forewarned...it's certainly NOT a feel-good movie!