Focus Features | Release Date: December 7, 2007
7.9
USER SCORE
Generally favorable reviews based on 492 Ratings
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Positive:
382
Mixed:
58
Negative:
52
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8
SpangleJun 11, 2015
Entirely captivating from beginning to end, Atonement is a very good film that finds success in multiple areas. Firstly, the acting is stellar. Keira Knightley, James McAvoy, and Saoirse Ronan, are impeccable. There is a scene in which McAvoyEntirely captivating from beginning to end, Atonement is a very good film that finds success in multiple areas. Firstly, the acting is stellar. Keira Knightley, James McAvoy, and Saoirse Ronan, are impeccable. There is a scene in which McAvoy yells at the older version of Ronan's character and the intensity he brings in that scene is impeccable, yet the tenderness and power brought by Knightley as she brings him back down is astounding. Truly, the two of them together provide powerhouse performances that should have been Oscar worthy. The film also excels in the areas of costume and production design. A film that spans multiple decades and includes scenes on the English countryside and in the north of France during WWII, this one's production design is impeccable. The writing and directing here are also quite strong, but one of my favorite elements here was the cinematography. Coupled with the entire mise en scene, war has never looked so beautiful. Truly, every single shot is immaculately captured and absolutely ravishing. Atonement is a great film from director Joe Wright that continues to show his handle on period pieces to be second to none. Expand
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10
beingryanjudeAug 25, 2014
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.
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2
csw12Mar 16, 2013
Atonement is a slow, boring and un-compelling film with not a single character that was remotely interesting. Nothing came to life and that's mainly to blame from poor storytelling.
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8
Trev29Jun 9, 2013
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 aPowerful 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. Expand
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10
worleyjamersMay 26, 2013
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 DarioPerfect! 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. Expand
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8
jimmytancrediMay 29, 2011
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 onlyIt 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
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8
TheWalrus2000Mar 12, 2013
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.
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9
EssenceOfSugarApr 30, 2012
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 doesA 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
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5
rotkuJan 10, 2012
While I can appreciate why some people would enjoy this movie I felt it was more of a period drama and was annoyingly slow moving. There were no surprises in the movie so why they chose to drag out the scenes is beyond me. Also the disjointedWhile I can appreciate why some people would enjoy this movie I felt it was more of a period drama and was annoyingly slow moving. There were no surprises in the movie so why they chose to drag out the scenes is beyond me. Also the disjointed plot involving the second world war scenes only further distanced me from the movie. Although it was all brought together at the end I struggled to keep my interest from waning. Expand
0 of 3 users found this helpful03
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6
RobertBroganSep 27, 2015
Take away the acclaim and Atonement works fine as a drama. The film looks as good as the actors. The various situations are somewhat interesting, but the film never comes together or feels completed at the end. The war scenes do almostTake away the acclaim and Atonement works fine as a drama. The film looks as good as the actors. The various situations are somewhat interesting, but the film never comes together or feels completed at the end. The war scenes do almost nothing for the story, which seems to have no main character. But overall, Atonement is fine, I just didn't find it to merit any awards. Expand
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8
hanneguacamoleNov 23, 2015
This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Atonement is simple, much like thirteen-year old Briony. Focusing on specific moments in time allows for these actions to speak for themselves without explanation. In its subtletly, the relationships that become important later on are alluded to but we're not quite sure why. Paul Marshall comes to visit in his yellow suit with a weird demeanor in talking to this young girl, Lola. We know there's something not right in this situation, but we realize along with Briony the truth of the rape and how wrong this relationship really is.

As "Atonement" is actually Briony's own novel, the movie is usually shown through her own eyes in two distinct ways. The childish Briony who was in love with Robbie and felt hurt, and the grown-up Briony realizing the actual magnitude of her actions and seeing these events in a new light – despite the fact that they may not even be real at all. The legal mess that Briony has gotten herself into is nearly impossible to solve with the death of both Cecilia and Robbie and the marriage and therefore immunity of Paul on Lola. This situation must leave Briony with much guilt – the emotion she shows as an old, dying woman. As perhaps the cause of much harm in many lives, she must carry on and find a way to cope, with writing.

A bit slow at times, but still beautiful in cinematography and a cohesive story lets the simplicity of one action in a life shine through with repercussions. Atonement was a single wave in the ocean, we watched its arrival to shore.
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10
pinattarDec 26, 2011
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 NOTthis 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
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7
bram29May 5, 2012
movie began a bit slow, but got better later.
0 of 1 users found this helpful01
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9
Jailhouse_McGeeOct 12, 2012
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.
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8
spollardSep 18, 2014
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 inAstonishing, 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!) Expand
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8
ns0lMar 26, 2014
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 endsI 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. Expand
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2
ginam5Jun 15, 2013
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 qualitiesHated 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 Expand
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2
DaveC.Nov 20, 2008
It was horrible. It was insanely slow and even more boring. Waste of time and money.
1 of 7 users found this helpful
8
BillyS.Jan 10, 2008
If you want to take an average story and turn it into a movie with an undeniable knock-out ending just hire a Redgrave to deliver it. A couple of years ago Lynn Redgrave gave a performance at the end of Kinsey that elevated that film from If you want to take an average story and turn it into a movie with an undeniable knock-out ending just hire a Redgrave to deliver it. A couple of years ago Lynn Redgrave gave a performance at the end of Kinsey that elevated that film from being a so-so biopic into a riveting study on human behavior, and it was only a 5 minute scene! In Atonement, it's sister Vanessa in a 5 minute scene at the end that transforms the movie from a typical English Merchant-Ivory style love story into a epic story of love, lies, despair and redemption. It hooks you into a love story torn apart by a single lie and follows the plotline through the years ending at a beautiful and totally unexpected place that only Vannessa Redgrave could take you to. She is truly one of the worlds great actors. Keira Knightley and James McAvoy are excellent as the lovers torn apart and Saoirse Ronan & Romola Garai are perfect as the younger stages of the Redgrave character. The cinematography by Seamus McGarvey is brilliant, in the league of Roger Deakins and Robert Elswit this year (you'll see those three names when Oscar nominations are announced!) Atonement is an old fashioned love story that becomes an epic movie going experience the minute Vannessa Redgrave defines Atonement! Expand
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10
LuísD.Jan 23, 2008
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, 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
1 of 1 users found this helpful
6
BillC.Jan 7, 2008
Too long in parts, and tries to hard to be artsie in the same vein at The English Patient. The story was fine, but too slow at first and the war scenes were over long. Then there was all the cutbacks and flashs forward. You have to stay for Too long in parts, and tries to hard to be artsie in the same vein at The English Patient. The story was fine, but too slow at first and the war scenes were over long. Then there was all the cutbacks and flashs forward. You have to stay for the ending, or it makes no sense at all. The acting is well done , it's just too long and strangly edited. Expand
0 of 2 users found this helpful
10
KY.Feb 20, 2008
Brilliant movie!
0 of 0 users found this helpful
10
AngieApr 20, 2008
Loved it!
0 of 0 users found this helpful
9
JoseS.Aug 25, 2008
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 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
0 of 0 users found this helpful
4
C.B.Dec 30, 2007
OVERRATED. What a snoozefest.
1 of 3 users found this helpful
5
dsJan 1, 2008
I don't think I have ever disagreed more with the critics. The basic story is a tawdry, contrived sequence of events, intended to be tragic, but only evoked irritation in this viewer. I was especially annoyed by the prolonged and I don't think I have ever disagreed more with the critics. The basic story is a tawdry, contrived sequence of events, intended to be tragic, but only evoked irritation in this viewer. I was especially annoyed by the prolonged and ultimately pointless WWII portion of the story. The surprise ending only served to extend the tedium. The 'atonement' seems tacked on and empty. Maybe that was the point? The cinematography is excellent, but seems too artistic for the story. At times the soundtrack was a bit ham-handed. Someone sure fell in love with the oh-so-clever sound of typewriter keys. Most of the acting was at least adequate. James McAvoy does a great job, but Kiera Knightly seems miscast. Overall, I found this movie was very disappointing. Expand
1 of 2 users found this helpful
9
SeanC.Feb 24, 2008
Nice story line with not your typical predictable ending. Great acting by James McAvoy!
0 of 0 users found this helpful
5
ScottW.Feb 26, 2008
Vastly overrated. As of right now, there's a full 15 point difference between the critics score, 85, and the people's score, 70. This ALWAYS should raise the alert. Critics tend to have their heads up...well you know. (see "Lost In Vastly overrated. As of right now, there's a full 15 point difference between the critics score, 85, and the people's score, 70. This ALWAYS should raise the alert. Critics tend to have their heads up...well you know. (see "Lost In Translation"). Mediocre movie, decent ending, better than bleeding to death in a bathtub but not as good as a grilled cheese sandwich. Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful
6
SuzanneL.Feb 3, 2008
Disjointed, disappointing, slow. I had high hopes for an epic love story. It didn't deliver. Definitely not the best picture of the year.
0 of 0 users found this helpful
4
JaredC.Mar 27, 2008
I'm not dissapointed, except for the fact that it won an oscar for best music for motion pictures written directly for the screen, original score. I was hoping that Sweeney would win. But right from the get go I hated it. I saw it last I'm not dissapointed, except for the fact that it won an oscar for best music for motion pictures written directly for the screen, original score. I was hoping that Sweeney would win. But right from the get go I hated it. I saw it last night and thought it would be one of those critics-35, users-4.7 movies such as 10,000 BC or Jumper. That's exactly what I got. A dull and dreary dry picture with no excitement or brilliance what so ever. It takes a good story and twists it into a bad one by over-extending the scrpit with much stupidity said enough in this film. I can't say I didn't like it because it isn't my taste, it's just that it felt like all it was was some continuous random sex scenes that were unesecary, escpecially the one sex scene when they were standing up. Now what'd so wrong about having sex in yer bed huh. But, anyways, it wasn't good. Expand
0 of 1 users found this helpful