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Atonement (2007)

R  |   |  Drama, Mystery, Romance  |  11 January 2008 (USA)
7.8
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 175,587 users   Metascore: 85/100
Reviews: 568 user | 315 critic | 36 from Metacritic.com

Fledgling writer Briony Tallis, as a 13-year-old, irrevocably changes the course of several lives when she accuses her older sister's lover of a crime he did not commit. Based on the British romance novel by Ian McEwan.

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Won 1 Oscar. Another 52 wins & 128 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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

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:

| |

Language:

|

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:

|

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The locals of Redcar, who served as extras in the Dunkirk scene, were paid 50 pounds. See more »

Goofs

Any apparent continuity errors in the fountain scene - the position of the vase, the tennis shoes, Robbie's sitting position, Cecilia's strap slip, the buttons on her blouse etc. - are not what they seem: we are seeing the same event in different ways through different pairs of eyes. 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 »


Soundtracks

Dear Lord and Father of Mankind
Written by Sir Charles Hubert Hastings Parry (as Charles Parry), John Greenleaf Whittier (as John Whittier)
Performed by Bede College Choir
Courtesy of Universal Studios
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

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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