User Score
7.7

Generally favorable reviews- based on 414 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 52 out of 414
Watch On

Review this movie

  1. Your Score
    0 out of 10
    Rate this:
    • 10
    • 9
    • 8
    • 7
    • 6
    • 5
    • 4
    • 3
    • 2
    • 1
    • 0
    • 0
  1. Submit
  2. Check Spelling
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. laura
    Oct 12, 2009
    10
    One of the best romances i ever saw! the end is so emotional and i have to cry nearly everytime i´m watching the movie. it´s true, that it´s not one of the easiest movies to watch, but i think if you like movies which are different than all the mainstream-movies you´ll love it!
  7. ChrisG
    Jan 8, 2009
    9
    Atonement is a beautiful wonderous original experience from begining to end. Knightly and McAvoy are quite good in their lead roles, but the films three great performances are all those of a single character, Brioni, at different stages in her life. The seamless way she's depicted in these three stages makes this a great film. The ending is surprising and very powerful. And the Atonement is a beautiful wonderous original experience from begining to end. Knightly and McAvoy are quite good in their lead roles, but the films three great performances are all those of a single character, Brioni, at different stages in her life. The seamless way she's depicted in these three stages makes this a great film. The ending is surprising and very powerful. And the cinematography and score are nothing short of spectacular. Expand
  8. 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
  9. JimmyS.
    Dec 21, 2008
    9
    Redemption song
  10. RubyRuby
    Dec 13, 2008
    10
    It's like the perfect movie.
  11. RogornM.
    Nov 23, 2008
    9
    Cleverly structured (both in book and film), the sequence of revelations makes up for a few bits in which the story, wanting to pause for gorgeous and moody photography, plods a little. Keira Knightley and James McAvoy are superb, and Vanessa Redgrave's scenes to close the film are the definitive clincher. Tremendous adaptation.
  12. JoseS.
    Aug 25, 2008
    9
    This unforgettable story deserves higher ratings than its getting here. It has that "classic novel" feel of a great 19th century romance novel. Loved the 5 minutes of Vanessa Redgrave, she blew me away, she's still terrific. The scene of Dunkirk is one of the great war scenes of all time, an incredible tracking shot that follows the arriving soldiers for about a mile along the shore. This unforgettable story deserves higher ratings than its getting here. It has that "classic novel" feel of a great 19th century romance novel. Loved the 5 minutes of Vanessa Redgrave, she blew me away, she's still terrific. The scene of Dunkirk is one of the great war scenes of all time, an incredible tracking shot that follows the arriving soldiers for about a mile along the shore. Also kudos to the entire cast, the beautiful green dress, and the original novelist, this was an unforgettable story. Expand
  13. 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?
  14. TennisMenace
    May 27, 2008
    9
    Very creative.
  15. 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.
  16. CynthiaH.
    May 13, 2008
    10
    A beautifully made, multi-layered adaptation of McEwan's fabulous novel. Don't believe the NY Times and the New Yorker on this one!! And Jeff Beresford-Howe must have eaten a bad clam before writing his review.
  17. MikS.
    Apr 24, 2008
    10
    Shame on those people who voted five below on this movie! Do they have emotions??
  18. Angie
    Apr 20, 2008
    10
    Loved it!
  19. Akispapas
    Apr 13, 2008
    9
    great movie...
  20. CamL.
    Apr 13, 2008
    9
    This was a fantastic film. Not having read the book, the story arc took my breath away.
  21. DavidM.
    Apr 4, 2008
    9
    In a time of dry cinematic ideas and redundant story lines this movie shines. This movie makes you think one thing and goes back and explains it and really gives a good feel for perception
  22. Mr.Mickey
    Apr 1, 2008
    10
    Genius! This is probably one of the best films I have seen in a long time. The complexety of the romance and storyline were nothing short of grandeur. All people who have given this a low rating either went into the movie with a horrible attitude, or just can't appreciate magnificent filmaking.
  23. RJ
    Mar 31, 2008
    10
    Amazing emotional story. There is some very honest acting in this film.
  24. DanP.
    Mar 28, 2008
    10
    An epic of wrenching emotion.
  25. SimonJ>
    Mar 24, 2008
    9
    Well acted, stylish, good soundtrack. If you don't like this film you don't like movies.
  26. CJ
    Mar 23, 2008
    9
    A beautiful romantic film. The historical drama genre is given an edgy and contemporary feel complemented by superb acting. The orgasmic long take on Dunkirk beach is amazing.
  27. SebastianV.
    Mar 20, 2008
    10
    Best movie of 07 and it got robbed from best picture. No country for old men didnt deserve it i gave that one a 6. but anywways this movie is brilliant, intriguing, fascinating, beautiful, clever, funny, sad, disturbing, haunting, romantic, EPIC, grandiose, sensational, and so many other things. amovie that will change u forever and of of the best EVER! A MASTERPIECE!
  28. M.C.
    Mar 19, 2008
    10
    I thought the movie was perfect in everything, the acting, music, the direction of the scenes, how deathly close it was to the book, and the ending. Another stunning performance from the lovely Keira Knightley and an equally impressive performance from James McAvoy. And another thing that this movie seems to be criticized about is the ending; I feel that the ending was very appropriate I thought the movie was perfect in everything, the acting, music, the direction of the scenes, how deathly close it was to the book, and the ending. Another stunning performance from the lovely Keira Knightley and an equally impressive performance from James McAvoy. And another thing that this movie seems to be criticized about is the ending; I feel that the ending was very appropriate and unexpected. Of course it wasn't a happy ending but that's what makes 'Atonement' different from all the other romantic, mushy love stories. And in response to the negative reviews, I feel that you people just can't appreciate and recognize good movies when you see them, but you'd rather see movies with mediocre acting with horrible storylines like 'Meet The Spartans' or 'Step Up,'... please. And also, don't see a movie with the thought that you're not going to like it because most likely you wont. You must see a movie with total disregard of other people's thoughts and reviews on it. Expand
  29. AlexandraB.
    Mar 3, 2008
    10
    It is an amazing film i loved it. Great acting from James McAvoy, Keria Knightley. I love the green dress Keria wears. Beautiful love story and such an unexpected ending. Overall a awesome film.
  30. WayneC.
    Feb 25, 2008
    9
    Good love story but the ending seems stilted because it could leave viewers feeling as if the rest of the film had not been playing "honestly"' with them or their emotions.
  31. SeanC.
    Feb 24, 2008
    9
    Nice story line with not your typical predictable ending. Great acting by James McAvoy!
  32. KY.
    Feb 20, 2008
    10
    Brilliant movie!
  33. 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.
  34. AmyS.
    Feb 15, 2008
    10
    Favourite movie of all time. love it.
  35. WilliamM.
    Feb 13, 2008
    10
    No the atonement bit was not 'tacked on and empty' and if you didn't realize this was an adaption of a book then do a bit of research before you review. Another point is that people who expect the passion to equal that of say Ben Affleck and Kate Beckinsale in pearl harbour will of course be disappointed with a more interesting story of poignantly repressed English emotions No the atonement bit was not 'tacked on and empty' and if you didn't realize this was an adaption of a book then do a bit of research before you review. Another point is that people who expect the passion to equal that of say Ben Affleck and Kate Beckinsale in pearl harbour will of course be disappointed with a more interesting story of poignantly repressed English emotions during the second world war. then again maybe you should stop watching explosions and kisses between nubile film stars and appreciate film and literary quality (although i am quite certain you wont as i have come to realize that half the world is not only as thick as pigsh#t, but takes pride in not improving). Expand
  36. TomekC.
    Feb 11, 2008
    10
    Wonderful movie, I didn't expect that it would be possible to translate book into the film so perfectly.
  37. DianaO.
    Feb 1, 2008
    9
    Random Thoughts: Very nicely done period piece. It has something for everyone. It's a romance, a war picture, a costume drama. The Dunkirk scenes are amazing. The acting and production values are first-rate.
  38. 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.
  39. GregM
    Jan 24, 2008
    9
    Those who refer to it as boring (as many do) are probably the same people who would choose McDonald's over a homecooked meal. It's sad when no one has the patience anymore for character development and the subtleties of real stories, of real life. And I guess you can also blame Hollywood for training us to want bullets flying every three seconds. I vote a 9 because, while the Those who refer to it as boring (as many do) are probably the same people who would choose McDonald's over a homecooked meal. It's sad when no one has the patience anymore for character development and the subtleties of real stories, of real life. And I guess you can also blame Hollywood for training us to want bullets flying every three seconds. I vote a 9 because, while the ending has been lauded, I found it a little manipulative, actually, though haunting all the same. Expand
  40. LuísD.
    Jan 23, 2008
    10
    Atonement is a wonderful film which shows an incresing story of love and subsequent tragedy and a sad mixture of feelings that makes us sad and horrified for the untimely ending of the story. For those who had read Ian McEwan's book, the film appears as a wonderfully faithful adaptation of the book which is able to surprise and to touch those of read it and those who didn't and Atonement is a wonderful film which shows an incresing story of love and subsequent tragedy and a sad mixture of feelings that makes us sad and horrified for the untimely ending of the story. For those who had read Ian McEwan's book, the film appears as a wonderfully faithful adaptation of the book which is able to surprise and to touch those of read it and those who didn't and in the end we are left with this question: if it had happened to us, could we bring ourselves to forgive someone like Briony Tallis? Is it possible to find the titular Atonement after all those years? Acting-wise, Keira Knightley, James McAvoy and Vanessa Redgrave receive my praise as Cecilia Tallis, Robbie Turner and a 70-year-old penitent Briony Tallis. Expand
  41. MollyW.
    Jan 20, 2008
    9
    Bound to get Oscar nods; cinematic turns splendid; subtleties for those who get them; beautifully presented; most decent acting; heartbreaking at the end.
  42. charmaineh.
    Jan 16, 2008
    10
    This movie was so beautifully done, everything about it was stunning.
  43. DrewP
    Jan 12, 2008
    10
    Phenomenal film, brilliantly acted, and the cinematography is flawless. Best movie of 2007.
  44. PeterK.
    Jan 12, 2008
    10
    Post-modernist elegaic romance in which an unreliable narrator tells a tale that is heavily stylized. The time period and the subject matter bring to mind The English Patient, but without the romantic sentimentality. I recommend this film, but only for those who want a challenge. If you are looking for action or a predictable story line or a quick resolution, try a Bruce Willis film instead.
  45. AustinB.
    Jan 7, 2008
    10
    Unfortunately for Andrew, he appears to lack enough of a brain to simply piece together the fact that you see the same events happen twice, once from the young sister (Briony's) eyes, and once from the older sister (Cicilia); that is the "disconnection" Andrew talks about. It is a very very good movie; full of emotion and great acting and I would recommend it!
  46. DeniseS.
    Jan 6, 2008
    9
    I suppose you can call me a clean canvas since I didn't read the novel, so I really didn't know what to expect. Although the movie is visually stunning and the acting exceptional (especially James MacAvoy), it left me cold at first. As time went on and I had time to reflect, I became haunted and captivated by the story. A clever and brilliant way to tell a story and hold us to I suppose you can call me a clean canvas since I didn't read the novel, so I really didn't know what to expect. Although the movie is visually stunning and the acting exceptional (especially James MacAvoy), it left me cold at first. As time went on and I had time to reflect, I became haunted and captivated by the story. A clever and brilliant way to tell a story and hold us to view it again to answer more questions. Expand
  47. TheDude
    Jan 4, 2008
    9
    Great movie. I wasn't sure I wanted to see it at first. Probably only really went because of Keira Knightley, but I was sure glad I did. It is very dark, but very interesting and very well done. Definitely for adults only, though, don't take your kids to this one. Overall, though it was top-notch. Very interesting story, very well acted and very well made. I was super impressed.
  48. GS
    Jan 2, 2008
    10
    One of the best movies I've had the pleasure of seeing in quite some while. The meta-reality twist at the end of the film is what really makes this worth watching. The musical score is also phenomenal, cheers.
  49. salmama
    Dec 31, 2007
    10
    the greatest movie of 2007.it's stunning.we learn a lesson in life not to judge people by our own perception i wish it will receive an oscar for the best motion picture.haven't learned a thing in life from no country for old men a bad mask face guy shooting people!if atonement wins the oscar it will be the right choice classics and novels and stories of life are better than the greatest movie of 2007.it's stunning.we learn a lesson in life not to judge people by our own perception i wish it will receive an oscar for the best motion picture.haven't learned a thing in life from no country for old men a bad mask face guy shooting people!if atonement wins the oscar it will be the right choice classics and novels and stories of life are better than movies which has a similarity to shooter games. Expand
  50. 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
  51. KirkG
    Dec 25, 2007
    10
    Beautiful performances, breathtaking cinematography, and a scene in the hospital that leaves you emotionally devastated and in awe.
  52. ebl.
    Dec 22, 2007
    10
    Brooding, exquisitely acted and beautifully filmed. i am surprised by the negative reviews of the film.
  53. 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. Expand
  54. 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
  55. 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.
  56. CasperY
    Dec 15, 2007
    10
    Best film of the last two years...every element serves a purpose for the whole upon close inspection.
  57. 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!
  58. 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.
  59. 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
  60. 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!!!
  61. 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!
  62. Charles
    Dec 10, 2007
    10
    An amazing work of cinematic art. The best film I have seen in the last five years. Better than Gosford Park.
  63. MyriamMathieu-Bédard
    Dec 9, 2007
    10
    Beautiful in every possible way.
  64. Zaj
    Dec 8, 2007
    10
    Yo this movie was some of that dank shit. I straight up cried in like two parts son. The acting is phenomenal and the screenplay is dope. Two forties up.
  65. 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.
  66. ChrisJ.
    Dec 7, 2007
    10
    Very moving, faithful adaption of a great novel.
  67. ErickB.
    Dec 7, 2007
    10
    The best picture of the year the cast is a wonderful Keira and James beautiful the direction is magnificent is an Oscar through.
  68. BarbaraP.
    Dec 7, 2007
    9
    Have read the book 3 times and went to Toronto to see the film at the Festival. It's an almost excellent translation of the book, other than the last scene being "MIA". Wonderful acting, great cinematography and score. I can't wait to see it again
  69. ChaseK.
    Dec 6, 2007
    10
    Stunning. Engaging throughout, and features an amazing five-minute tracking shot through the beach of Dunkirk that is the polar opposite of self-consciousness that everyone says it is. My favorite movie this year.
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.