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Fledgling writer Briony Tallis, as a thirteen-year-old, irrevocably changes the course of several lives when she accuses her older sister's lover of a crime he did not commit.

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(novel), (screenplay)
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829 ( 39)
Won 1 Oscar. Another 49 wins & 145 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Ailidh Mackay ...
Singing Housemaid
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Julia West ...
Betty
...
...
Emily Tallis
...
...
Felix von Simson ...
Pierrot Quincey (as Felix Von Simson)
Charlie von Simson ...
Jackson Quincey (as Charlie Von Simson)
...
Danny Hardman
...
Leon Tallis
...
...
Leander Deeny ...
Police Constable
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Storyline

SPOILER: When Briony Tallis, 13 years old and an aspiring writer, sees her older sister Cecilia and Robbie Turner at the fountain in front of the family estate she misinterprets what is happening thus setting into motion a series of misunderstandings and a childish pique that will have lasting repercussions for all of them. Robbie is the son of a family servant toward whom the family has always been kind. They paid for his time at Cambridge and now he plans on going to medical school. After the fountain incident, Briony reads a letter intended for Cecilia and concludes that Robbie is a deviant. When her cousin Lola is raped, she tells the police that it was Robbie she saw committing the deed. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

You can only imagine the truth. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Mystery | Romance | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for disturbing war images, language and some sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

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Language:

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Release Date:

11 January 2008 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Expiación, deseo y pecado  »

Box Office

Budget:

$30,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£1,634,065 (UK) (7 September 2007)

Gross:

$50,921,738 (USA) (4 April 2008)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In one early scene, Paul Marshall says that army conscription is inevitable "if Herr Hitler doesn't pipe down, and he's about as likely to do that as buy shares in Marks and Spencers". British retail chain Marks and Spencer was co-founded by Jewish immigrant Michael Marks, and many senior-management staff have been members of his family; Jews were the ethnic group which was the prime target of Adolf Hitler's genocidal purges. See more »

Goofs

In the scene where Robbie types his "In my dreams" letter, he finishes the letter placing the period only a little ways from the edge of the paper. But when he removes the letter from the typewriter and goes to fold it, the words and period are closer to the center of the paper. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Briony Tallis, aged 13: I finished my play.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The title types itself out like on a typewriter. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Novel to Screen: Writing Atonement (2008) See more »

Soundtracks

Miss You
Written by Charles Tobias, Harry Tobias, Henry H. Tobias (as Henry Tobias)
Performed by Bud Flanagan (as Flanagan) and Chesney Allen (as Allen)
Courtesy of The Decca Music Group
Under license from Universal Music Operations Ltd
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Suite Britianna
10 December 2007 | by (New Jersey, USA) – See all my reviews

A budding young writer named Briony witnesses an innocent act she doesn't fully understand between her older sister Cecilia (Keira Knightley) and long-time family servant Robbie (James McAvoy) one restless summer day on her family's lavish country estate in 1935 England that leads to scandal in Joe Wright's dreadfully sumptuous adaptation of Ian McEwan's international best-selling novel, "Atonement." Four years later, all three characters try to find their own personal sense of peace or redemption during WWII.

This brief synopsis does nothing to explain the intricate complexities of the plot and actions that take place. Although Keira Knightley's performance is slightly off-putting due to the fact she appears like she just escaped from a concentration camp (surely young British socialites did not look like this in the 1930's), the stunning cast shows full range here racing through curious emotions: spite, lust, recklessness, and selfish wanton abandon. The facial expressions, especially from the children in the early scenes on the estate, are priceless. None of the characters are particularly sympathetic as they are often vain, self-absorbed, and quite silly in their drama, but they are fascinating to watch. The first third of the film is played like a "Masterpiece Theater" production of "The Great Gatsby" as seen through the eyes of Nancy Drew.

However, what makes "Atonement" soar is the impeccable direction of Joe Wright. He makes the most audacious coming-of-age as an auteur since Anthony Minghella delivered "The English Patient" back in 1996. Wright displays a near Kubrickian mastery of sound effects (notice the strikes of the typewriter keys) that transition from scene to scene and often bleed into the amazing score from Dario Marianelli. Wright also crafts a finely textured mise-en-scene that visually translates McEwan's richly composed story onto the screen with near note perfect fashion. Nothing can really prepare you for how well directed this film is until you see it, and the scene of the three soldiers arriving on the beach at the Dunkirk evacuation is one of the greatest stand alone unedited panning long shots ever captured on film. It left me gasping.

That scene leads to the heart of the film. The often clichéd romance at the core is trumped by Wright's depiction of Robbie, a single man forlorn and obsessed, his dizzying inner turmoil reflected against the grand canvas of a chaotic world at war. Likewise, Briony's redemption comes not in the too-clever conclusion at the end of the film, but in the intimate and symbolic confessional at the bedside of a dying French soldier. These moments leave lasting impressions, and left me imagining that if Joe Wright were to ever adapt Irene Nemiorovsky's "Suite Francaise" onto the silver screen, he would knock it so far out of the park it would leave "Gone With Wind" spinning in its gilded Hollywood grave.


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How was Paul Marshall immune? miljenko
This film drives me crazy JPLogan54
so Brioni is a mega b*tch basically andrenmathers
significance of the 'chinese burns' on lola? creativityaddict
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Am I the only one who gets that... jessicaevans91
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