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. 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. Mar 16, 2013
    2
    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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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
  6. 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.
  7. 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
  8. Jan 10, 2012
    5
    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 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 toWhile 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
  9. 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
  10. May 5, 2012
    7
    movie began a bit slow, but got better later.
  11. 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.
  12. 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!)
  13. 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.
  14. 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
  15. DaveC.
    Nov 20, 2008
    2
    It was horrible. It was insanely slow and even more boring. Waste of time and money.
  16. BillyS.
    Jan 10, 2008
    8
    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 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
  17. 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
  18. BillC.
    Jan 7, 2008
    6
    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.
  19. KY.
    Feb 20, 2008
    10
    Brilliant movie!
  20. Angie
    Apr 20, 2008
    10
    Loved it!
  21. 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
  22. C.B.
    Dec 30, 2007
    4
    OVERRATED. What a snoozefest.
  23. ds
    Jan 1, 2008
    5
    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. 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
  24. SeanC.
    Feb 24, 2008
    9
    Nice story line with not your typical predictable ending. Great acting by James McAvoy!
  25. ScottW.
    Feb 26, 2008
    5
    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.
  26. SuzanneL.
    Feb 3, 2008
    6
    Disjointed, disappointing, slow. I had high hopes for an epic love story. It didn't deliver. Definitely not the best picture of the year.
  27. JaredC.
    Mar 27, 2008
    4
    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 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
  28. RJ
    Mar 31, 2008
    10
    Amazing emotional story. There is some very honest acting in this film.
  29. 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.
  30. 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.
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.