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Atonement (2007)

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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.

Director:

Joe Wright

Writers:

Ian McEwan (novel), Christopher Hampton (screenplay)
Reviews
Popularity
770 ( 33)

Through the Lens of 'Darkest Hour' Director Joe Wright

See how director Joe Wright uses his signature tracking shots to set up a visual narrative for his films, including Atonement, The Soloist, and Hanna.

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Won 1 Oscar. Another 50 wins & 148 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Saoirse Ronan ... Briony Tallis, aged 13
Ailidh Mackay Ailidh Mackay ... Singing Housemaid
Brenda Blethyn ... Grace Turner
Julia West Julia West ... Betty
James McAvoy ... Robbie Turner
Harriet Walter ... Emily Tallis
Keira Knightley ... Cecilia Tallis
Juno Temple ... Lola Quincey
Felix von Simson Felix von Simson ... Pierrot Quincey (as Felix Von Simson)
Charlie von Simson Charlie von Simson ... Jackson Quincey (as Charlie Von Simson)
Alfie Allen ... Danny Hardman
Patrick Kennedy ... Leon Tallis
Benedict Cumberbatch ... Paul Marshall
Peter Wight ... Police Inspector
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:

Torn apart by betrayal. Separated by war. Bound by love 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:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK | France | USA

Language:

English | French

Release Date:

11 January 2008 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Atonement See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$30,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$784,145, 9 December 2007

Gross USA:

$50,927,067

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$129,266,061
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The opening film of the 2007's Venice Film Festival. Director Joe Wright, at 35, is the youngest director to have a film open this prestigious event. 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 »

Connections

Featured in Pinewood: 80 Years of Movie Magic (2015) See more »

Soundtracks

(There'll Be Bluebirds Over) The White Cliffs of Dover
Written by Nat Burton and Walter Kent
Performed by The Dunkirk Soldiers
Courtesy of Universal Studios
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Suite Britianna
10 December 2007 | by WriterDaveSee 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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