User Score
7.7

Generally favorable reviews- based on 414 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 52 out of 414
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  1. JasonS.
    Apr 4, 2008
    8
    I feel as though many of those below me were a bit harsh to this movie. as a guy who really detests chick flicks, this had more than enough character development and plot twists to keep me interested. don't get me wrong, i would still rather watch no country for old men a 6th time.
  2. Bridget
    May 24, 2008
    10
    I loved this movie! the acting was great and I loved it. Those who gave this a bad review obviousley have not read the book, this movie is just as good. If you read the book first it will give you a better insight into the movie, Overall i loved it and will watch it over and over again. Great ending too.
  3. TennisMenace
    May 27, 2008
    9
    Very creative.
  4. TomH
    Jun 22, 2008
    10
    Beautifully photographed, scripted and acted. The performances, the writing and the photography are all great. What could anyone find wrong with this film?
  5. WhitneyL
    Dec 10, 2007
    10
    Oscar worthy. The acting is outstanding. the score is incredible. As a whole it is the best movie of the year by far. PERFECT!
  6. Keith
    Dec 13, 2007
    9
    Surely one of the best of the year. I suspect some will criticize if for its high style and grand approach to technique. But, it is the sort of story that calls for it. For the most part, I thought it excellent and impeccably made. The score, though beautiful, can be a little intrusive at times. Knightly is very good in the opening third of the film, but I found her not passionate enough Surely one of the best of the year. I suspect some will criticize if for its high style and grand approach to technique. But, it is the sort of story that calls for it. For the most part, I thought it excellent and impeccably made. The score, though beautiful, can be a little intrusive at times. Knightly is very good in the opening third of the film, but I found her not passionate enough the rest of the way. She can't seem to match McAvoy's fervor, who is first-rate. I thought the screenplay and direction vivid, surpringly so, for a story that could have been confusing or heavy to the point of drowning. In the end, the movie (and certainly the book) works as a lovely, bittersweet metaphor for how art "rights" life, how it gives happiness to us by imagining things as they should have always been. As Redgrave intimates in the end, reality is fine where we live. But sometimes it's nice to imagine life turning out how we we wished it. Expand
  7. Fantasy
    Dec 14, 2007
    10
    Saw the movie on opening evening and thought it was tremendous. In all seriousness, for the short time Vanessa Redgrave is on the screen, it makes one realize that she is in a league all of her own. Defintely Oscar worthy.
  8. CasperY
    Dec 15, 2007
    10
    Best film of the last two years...every element serves a purpose for the whole upon close inspection.
  9. DanielW.
    Dec 15, 2007
    6
    The most disappointing thing about this film is that it doesn't even try to provide a cinematic equivalent of the startling novelistic twist that is at the heart of Macewan's masterpiece. What we get is a well-made, well-acted, but very proper and sterile period piece. It is the kind of thing Oscar loves, but in a year that gave us the chutzpah and innovation of Into the Wild, The most disappointing thing about this film is that it doesn't even try to provide a cinematic equivalent of the startling novelistic twist that is at the heart of Macewan's masterpiece. What we get is a well-made, well-acted, but very proper and sterile period piece. It is the kind of thing Oscar loves, but in a year that gave us the chutzpah and innovation of Into the Wild, I'm Not There, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, and even Lumet's Devil, it would be a shame if this dull little movie ended up with more than Best Costume statuettes. Yawn. Expand
  10. Emily
    Dec 15, 2007
    10
    A very captivating film with a GREAT story and a wonderful cast - especially James McAvoy. It was beautifully filmed; many of the images resonate with me even several days after seeing the film. I highly recommend it!
  11. AnnaP.
    Dec 19, 2007
    10
    Astounding, moving, heartbreaking, life-affirming and unutterably sad all at once. What a fantastic movie, definitely one of the best of the year. The cinematography is breathtaking, the acting amazing, and the story has just enough twists and turns to satisfy. I haven't read the book, it's now on the top of my Christmas list, but I just can't say enough good things about Astounding, moving, heartbreaking, life-affirming and unutterably sad all at once. What a fantastic movie, definitely one of the best of the year. The cinematography is breathtaking, the acting amazing, and the story has just enough twists and turns to satisfy. I haven't read the book, it's now on the top of my Christmas list, but I just can't say enough good things about this film. Collapse
  12. Maude
    Dec 19, 2007
    3
    Beautiful to look at but ultimately emotionally empty. The film perhaps relied too much on emotional memory from the book and did not establish the necessary relationship between the main characters to feel much for their separation, either by Briony's act or by the war itself. Both were horrible for any individual, but I felt more sadness for Robby and none for Robby and Cecilia. Beautiful to look at but ultimately emotionally empty. The film perhaps relied too much on emotional memory from the book and did not establish the necessary relationship between the main characters to feel much for their separation, either by Briony's act or by the war itself. Both were horrible for any individual, but I felt more sadness for Robby and none for Robby and Cecilia. Too bad. I wanted to love this film. Expand
  13. BR.
    Dec 20, 2007
    5
    A chic flick dressed up in British WWII garb. World War II seemed shorter that this movie.
  14. ChadS.
    Dec 22, 2007
    7
    Most readers of literary fiction would probably concur that Ian McEwan's "Atonement" was the best example of fallible narration since Kazuo Ishiguro's "The Remains of the Day". Both film adaptations are flawed, but at least "Atonement" is successful in capturing the limitations that a child's intelligence would pose when confronted with an adult situation(McEwan's Most readers of literary fiction would probably concur that Ian McEwan's "Atonement" was the best example of fallible narration since Kazuo Ishiguro's "The Remains of the Day". Both film adaptations are flawed, but at least "Atonement" is successful in capturing the limitations that a child's intelligence would pose when confronted with an adult situation(McEwan's story is a tip-of-the-hat to Henry James' "What Maisie Knew"), but then again, maybe Briony(Saoirse Ronan) knew more than she led us to believe. "Atonement" repeats scenes that involve Robbie(James McAvoy) and Cecilia(Keira Knightley) in order to show us what Briony missed the first time. As it turns out, maybe the extended information was irrelevant. When the story jumps ahead in time, Robbie is involved with the war, a tour of duty in which he encounters no action. He spills no blood. This is part of the author's atonement, too(not explicity laid out by Vanessa Redgrave, as the older Briony). There's no need for Robbie to lose a limb, or shed blood. Briony knows that he suffered enough. Expand
  15. JDA
    Dec 29, 2007
    4
    beautiful to look at; Something was wrong --was it the editing? I found it very loose, and not connected; It might have worked better for me if V redgrave's appearance happened in the beginning and end setting up the story and givng the final stroke.. Loved James!!! I would tell people wait for HBO on this one.
  16. JohnO
    Dec 30, 2007
    1
    Pure Chick Flick...If you have any doubt about whether or not you will like this film, then don't pay to see it. All of the critical plot turns are heavily foreshadowed in the first ten minutes. The second hour drags terribly. None of the characters are developed enough to care about.
  17. Alexandra
    Dec 8, 2007
    10
    Phenomenal. I have not read the novel, but from a purely cinematic point of view, it was excellently done. A very powerful and moving story. The most affecting, wonderful movie I've seen in a while.
  18. MyriamMathieu-Bédard
    Dec 9, 2007
    10
    Beautiful in every possible way.
  19. DrewP
    Jan 12, 2008
    10
    Phenomenal film, brilliantly acted, and the cinematography is flawless. Best movie of 2007.
  20. BlakeJ
    Jan 15, 2008
    7
    I'm just going to say it, I didn't really like Atonement. Overall it was a beautifully filmed movie, but I felt it lacked in places and I did not connect with any of the characters...at all.
  21. Sebastian
    Jan 16, 2008
    7
    Atonement offers plenty for the eyes, but the soul is left wanting. Flatly, what's missing in Atonement is atonement. Sure, a good 1/5 of the movie addresses some manner of recompense, but the movie's focal point is desire turned inexplicably to love and then crushed under betrayal, war, and a lot of other just generally evil stuff. The subsequent struggle for "atonement" is Atonement offers plenty for the eyes, but the soul is left wanting. Flatly, what's missing in Atonement is atonement. Sure, a good 1/5 of the movie addresses some manner of recompense, but the movie's focal point is desire turned inexplicably to love and then crushed under betrayal, war, and a lot of other just generally evil stuff. The subsequent struggle for "atonement" is ostensibly deep but the viewer never really gets underneath the skin of the character's anxiety. The movie would stick more to the viewer's spirit if the "atonement" would have been more naked. Instead, we are left with a beautiful bunch of evaporating sadness. Expand
  22. charmaineh.
    Jan 16, 2008
    10
    This movie was so beautifully done, everything about it was stunning.
  23. RubyRuby
    Dec 13, 2008
    10
    It's like the perfect movie.
  24. R.A.L.
    Jan 22, 2008
    5
    Starts and ends well, but the rest is a by-the-numbers epic populated with cliches and gimmicky cinematic devices and ostentation. The film becomes hollow and forced... until Vanessa Redgrave appears and redeems the whole thing somewhat.
  25. CharlesM.
    Dec 23, 2008
    10
    First of all how can someone even review a movie without even seeing the whole movie. Now let me warn you, this movie is barely a romance. Its a look at the life of Biorny played by three different people (Saoirse Ronan,Romola Garai and Vanessa Redgrave whos acting is oscar worthy). Its a look on her life and how a lie she told ruined the life of her sister and her sister lover and how First of all how can someone even review a movie without even seeing the whole movie. Now let me warn you, this movie is barely a romance. Its a look at the life of Biorny played by three different people (Saoirse Ronan,Romola Garai and Vanessa Redgrave whos acting is oscar worthy). Its a look on her life and how a lie she told ruined the life of her sister and her sister lover and how the guilt effects her whole life. The movie for me was wonderful paced, but as i see it wasnt for others. Do take time with the movie cause its truly worth it. Expand
  26. GlenJ.
    Jan 27, 2008
    0
    A very droll movie; should've known it would be a waste of time since "critics" liked it! My idea of being entertained is not to have my brain drained by a slow and dark movie. Entertainment is cheer; this was not. If I want to watch something tragic all I have to do is turn on the 6 o'clock news.
  27. LindaL.
    Jan 27, 2008
    6
    What I was hoping for: Something like "The English Patient." What I got: Something like "Masterpiece Theater."
  28. DanG.
    Jan 29, 2008
    9
    Haunting, sweet, and beautiful. That art can not only imitate life, but destroy it: that's an interesting conclusions, well-rendered by the film.
  29. DaleM
    Feb 13, 2008
    5
    If you liked the English Patient, then you'll like this. Unfortunately, I am not so patient. The plot in this movie is not strong enough to hold anyone's attention. If you don't like costumes and period piece scenery, there isn't a lot in this movie. The war scene was good and was the antithesis of everything else in the movie.
  30. ThulaniF.
    Feb 15, 2008
    10
    It's the intriguing British true story movie I have ever come across and it has a lot of character.
  31. Duke
    Feb 16, 2008
    1
    So over the top I thought I was at a drag show!
  32. MH.
    Feb 16, 2008
    1
    Dull nonsense, don't bother watching.
  33. kr
    Feb 22, 2008
    1
    Boresville. Don't even bother. See "The Diving Bell and The Butterfly" or "There Will Be Blood" or "No Country For Old Men" or "Superbad" or dozens of other better movies.
  34. PG.
    Mar 24, 2008
    2
    it's really boring. other than the high cost of production- i see no other reason to actually sit through 2 of the longest hours you can possibly have. this is not entertainment- it's self indulgence of the movie maker who obviously cares nothing for the audience.
  35. KenD.
    Jul 26, 2008
    7
    Wright is plainly a great technician, but it's hard to escape the feeling that he'd swap art for art direction given half a chance. Great films leave gaps into which you can insert yourself. This one seems more interested in making its characters and themes understandable to anyone paying the slightest bit of attention, so it loses some power in the process. You do admire it but Wright is plainly a great technician, but it's hard to escape the feeling that he'd swap art for art direction given half a chance. Great films leave gaps into which you can insert yourself. This one seems more interested in making its characters and themes understandable to anyone paying the slightest bit of attention, so it loses some power in the process. You do admire it but you don't ponder it. Expand
  36. MorganF.
    Apr 17, 2009
    4
    This movie was so long and the plot was horribly thin. The acting was decent, but it hardly carried the film.
  37. PatG.
    Dec 11, 2007
    7
    Much about this film was very interesting, but I am amazed that not one person, professional or amateur, has mentioned what troubles me the most. That is that I find it VERY hard to believe that Robbie would have made the dumb mistake he made. It is just not credible. And, of course, the whole plot rides on that move. Sigh. . . . I did like the movie overall, but it has to be in spite of Much about this film was very interesting, but I am amazed that not one person, professional or amateur, has mentioned what troubles me the most. That is that I find it VERY hard to believe that Robbie would have made the dumb mistake he made. It is just not credible. And, of course, the whole plot rides on that move. Sigh. . . . I did like the movie overall, but it has to be in spite of that glaring flaw. Talk about the need to suspend disbelief! Expand
  38. MiriamY
    Dec 12, 2007
    10
    Astonishing movie. Beautiful and deeply emotional. The performances are brilliant, especially by Knightley and McAvoy as the star-crossed lovers. This move has made me feel what I haven't felt in ages when watching a movie. A definite standout from the rest of the films out there now. Brilliant, gorgeous and captivating. Bravo!!!
  39. MarkG.
    Dec 13, 2007
    1
    This movie feels like an utter fake from beginning to end. Instead of emotion, we get direction more appropriate for a musical (or a bad rock video) as well as acting that feels stilted and bizarrely disjointed. A truly bad movie.
  40. Sim
    Dec 15, 2007
    10
    While the movie had won me over long before then, the five-minute, single-take scene overlooking the beaches at Dunkirk is perhaps the most beautiful piece of cinematographic mastery I have ever seen, and it is for such elegance that this movie deserves Best Picture.
  41. Sean
    Dec 16, 2007
    10
    Pat, the letter wasn't a mistake, as far as which one Robbie intended to put in the envelope. Remember him giggling as he gave it to Briony? It was an intentional joke that he changed his mind about a few seconds after giving it to Briony. But when he actually put it in the envelope, that was on purpose. Anyway, beautiful film. Weirdly, many critics are having reservations about the Pat, the letter wasn't a mistake, as far as which one Robbie intended to put in the envelope. Remember him giggling as he gave it to Briony? It was an intentional joke that he changed his mind about a few seconds after giving it to Briony. But when he actually put it in the envelope, that was on purpose. Anyway, beautiful film. Weirdly, many critics are having reservations about the second half, but I loved those parts the most. Expand
  42. ScottS.
    Dec 23, 2007
    5
    Whereas the amazing narrative structure of the book delivers a final punch to the gut, the movie offers only a slight nudge. The movie never comes alive, and therefore the audience never comes to care. And while James McAvoy does his best to raise our passions, Keira Knightley is distractingly bad. She looks great on the red carpet, but said carpet would be a better actress.
  43. Filmfan
    Dec 24, 2007
    6
    You know, this is not a bad film, and it is a serious effort. But I can't say it better than William Arnold, so I will quoate instead: "The characters are not hugely compelling, the performances never completely grab us, and much of the story, while visually arresting, is dramatically tedious." Spot on.
  44. Andrew
    Dec 27, 2007
    2
    This is the worst film I've ever watched in years. The storyline is almost completely disconnected from one another just like jigsaw pieces, the director intentionally confuses us by jumping from one scene to another when he's just trying to tell a simple story. The only good thing about it is the musical score which really grabs people.
  45. LB
    Dec 29, 2007
    2
    long, boring and depressing. Not that you even care by the time the ending finally comes.
  46. AdamL.
    Dec 29, 2007
    10
    Ah, more humor from the Metacritic peanut gallery. Let's take a look at some choice quotes from the user "reviews" by those who rated this film poorly: "This is the worst film I've ever watched in years." "Some scenes were visually brilliant, but except for one hospital scene..." "But I can't say it better than William Arnold, so I will quoate instead..." Apparently, the Ah, more humor from the Metacritic peanut gallery. Let's take a look at some choice quotes from the user "reviews" by those who rated this film poorly: "This is the worst film I've ever watched in years." "Some scenes were visually brilliant, but except for one hospital scene..." "But I can't say it better than William Arnold, so I will quoate instead..." Apparently, the above users are unfamiliar with the intricacies of English syntax, grammar, and basic spelling. What are you three doing up this late anyway? You need your rest. Third grade is tough enough as it is. And then there's this juicy little nugget of witticism: "She looks great on the red carpet, but said carpet would be a better actress." So apparently, red carpets are female! Who knew? Rug anthropology is criminally misunderstood, so thank you Scott S. for enlightening us all. Listen, all comedy at the expense of stupidity aside, this is a phenomenal picture well worth the emotional effort you're willing to put into it. It is powerful and heartwrenching, and only the pretentious (see A.O. Scott) and soulless will find themselves unaffected by its majesty. With the exception of "No Country for Old Men," this is the best picture of the year. Expand
  47. JimmyS.
    Dec 21, 2008
    9
    Redemption song
  48. MegR.
    Dec 27, 2008
    0
    I am a big movie fan and love deep films. But this one not only made me fall asleep, but in the middle of the theater I cussed out the movie because it was so rediculously over rated. Knightly looks gaunt and ugly and it is rediculous in it's attempts to be edgy. A bad porn that is too gaudy.
  49. Dec 26, 2011
    10
    this is one of my favorite movies of all times. i had heard of this film a few years ago, but was put-off by the plot or what i thought the plot was from the trailer, i never really knew the actual plot (by the way i would recommend you NOT reading the plot of the movie, it might ruin it). Keira Knightley, and James McAvoy have great chemistry and act really well, i personally didnt thinkthis is one of my favorite movies of all times. i had heard of this film a few years ago, but was put-off by the plot or what i thought the plot was from the trailer, i never really knew the actual plot (by the way i would recommend you NOT reading the plot of the movie, it might ruin it). Keira Knightley, and James McAvoy have great chemistry and act really well, i personally didnt think that Saoirse Ronan was as good as knightley or mcavoy but thats my opinion. the story is amazing, you could really watch it only for that. Expand
  50. May 29, 2011
    8
    It can tells you how Joe Wright is talented. He directs with flair and sensitivity. A nice highlight for the sequence that takes us along the beaches and streets, a scene very exciting and sad at the same time, shows us a view of the war only a camera, a job very well done and accurate. It is an excellent film, great direction, beautiful photography, acting, soundtrack, everything is greatIt can tells you how Joe Wright is talented. He directs with flair and sensitivity. A nice highlight for the sequence that takes us along the beaches and streets, a scene very exciting and sad at the same time, shows us a view of the war only a camera, a job very well done and accurate. It is an excellent film, great direction, beautiful photography, acting, soundtrack, everything is great in this movie. I recommend it! Expand
  51. Apr 30, 2012
    9
    A sweet film. The lives entwined by childhood innocence, love and consequences enlivened by the beautiful natural surroundings helped it become more bearable. This film was naturally emotional, instead of forcing yourself not to cry, it does it for you. It also has one of the most haunting endings you could ever have in such a drama. If the film is that good, I will have to read the bookA sweet film. The lives entwined by childhood innocence, love and consequences enlivened by the beautiful natural surroundings helped it become more bearable. This film was naturally emotional, instead of forcing yourself not to cry, it does it for you. It also has one of the most haunting endings you could ever have in such a drama. If the film is that good, I will have to read the book as well. The acting in this is also particularly significant, such as the traumatic performance of the life of Briony. Expand
  52. Aug 25, 2014
    10
    Rarely does a film adaptation hold much more weight than the novel which it is based on. Compelling from start to finish, Keira Knightley along with her wonderful cast paint a tale which spans decades of heartache and love.
  53. Mar 26, 2014
    8
    I used to prefer reading books on watching movies because i found them much enjoyable. This movie really gives me the impression that I'm reading an endless fabulous romance story that I can't stop reading. Unfortunately the story ends tragically. But it will remain one of the memorable books I've read.
  54. Jun 9, 2013
    8
    Powerful storytelling. The way the movie unfolds with all of its hidden secrets and betrayals is great. A very moving picture with scenes so effortlessly done. It isn't a joyous film, but one with great performances, art direction, and a surprising ending.
  55. Oct 12, 2012
    9
    This is a very good blend of acting, visuals, music and storytelling. It will leave you with some great pictures in your mind... Just falls a little, little bit short because of some parts that are stretched a bit to long for my taste.
  56. May 26, 2013
    10
    Perfect! A brilliant film. Great performances from Kiera Knightley, Saoirse Ronan, Romola Garai, Vanessa Redgrave, but especially James McAvoy who completely carries this film. Breathtaking cinematography. Sweeping musical score from Dario Marianelli. Nominated for 7 Academy Awards including Best Picture, Atonement is one of the best films of 2007.
  57. Mar 12, 2013
    8
    An extremely eye-catching film and above all the best film Joe Wright has ever done, Atonement's mystery and strong drama can make it both an extremely good film and at the same time an unbearable film to watch.
  58. Sep 18, 2014
    8
    Astonishing, thought provoking film with brilliant cinematography. Guilt can impact someone's life in the most severe way possible. Having to live with the fact that it is your fault is difficult to bear. This movie captures this lesson in the best way possible. I rated this movie a 82.4 (Great Movie!)
  59. Jun 15, 2013
    2
    Hated this movie. I was surprised at how awful it was considering how much I normally love the actors. Skip this movie. I rarely disagree with my favorite critic, Wall Street Journal's Morgenstern, but I can't see any redeeming qualities in this film
Metascore
85

Universal acclaim - based on 36 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 33 out of 36
  2. Negative: 0 out of 36
  1. An unforgettable examination of a host of dark impulses.
  2. With compelling and charismatic performances by Keira Knightley and James McAvoy as the lovers, and a stunning contribution from Romola Garai as their remorseful nemesis, the film goes directly to "The English Patient" territory and might also expect rapturous audiences and major awards.
  3. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    75
    The movie never goes as deep as the novel (no movie could), but it's a worthy approximation: a Merchant-Ivory movie that turns in on itself with a lucid and painful sigh.