Atonement

User Score
7.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 478 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 52 out of 478

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User Reviews

  1. 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. Collapse
  2. May 5, 2012
    7
    movie began a bit slow, but got better later.
  3. 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
  4. KY.
    Feb 20, 2008
    10
    Brilliant movie!
  5. Angie
    Apr 20, 2008
    10
    Loved it!
  6. 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
  7. SeanC.
    Feb 24, 2008
    9
    Nice story line with not your typical predictable ending. Great acting by James McAvoy!
  8. RJ
    Mar 31, 2008
    10
    Amazing emotional story. There is some very honest acting in this film.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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
  13. carol
    Jan 1, 2008
    7
    A fine piece of eye candy. Each frame a visual feast of color, light and brilliant production. But, ultimately, one is left wanting more substance. I can't help but feel the film's heart was too over dressed. Still, a beautiful piece worth seeing on the big screen.
  14. 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.
  15. 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
  16. NancyH
    Jan 29, 2008
    8
    Well done. Vanessa Redgrave is always amazing to watch.
  17. 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.
  18. TomekC.
    Feb 11, 2008
    10
    Wonderful movie, I didn't expect that it would be possible to translate book into the film so perfectly.
  19. 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.
  20. ColinB.
    Feb 20, 2008
    7
    In it's own right, a very good film. Kiera Knightly performs with the kind of British swagger reminiscent of "Masterpiece Theatre," and James McAvoy sits high on a pedestal alongside her. It's beautifully shot and expertly directed, with some of the best cinematographic shots of the year. Truth is though, in the end, it's still just another well-made, WW2 period piece to In it's own right, a very good film. Kiera Knightly performs with the kind of British swagger reminiscent of "Masterpiece Theatre," and James McAvoy sits high on a pedestal alongside her. It's beautifully shot and expertly directed, with some of the best cinematographic shots of the year. Truth is though, in the end, it's still just another well-made, WW2 period piece to add to the continuously growing list of the genre. There's nothing truly different or new presented in "Atonement." Best picture worthy? There are certainly more deserving movies this year, but I still respect this very entertaining film. Expand
  21. 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.
  22. 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!
  23. CamL.
    Apr 13, 2008
    9
    This was a fantastic film. Not having read the book, the story arc took my breath away.
  24. 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.
  25. TonyB.
    Apr 25, 2008
    7
    "Atonement" is a beautifully designed and photographed film featuring some exceptional acting. What prevent it from being the gem it had the potential to be is its too frequently slow pace and its occasionally jarring narrative structure.
  26. 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!
  27. 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
  28. NancyO.
    Dec 17, 2007
    7
    I didn't shed a tear, and I am a sensitive moviegoer. The film is visually beautiful and well-acted, but I felt detached from the familiar theme of lovers separated by circumstances outside their control.
  29. ebl.
    Dec 22, 2007
    10
    Brooding, exquisitely acted and beautifully filmed. i am surprised by the negative reviews of the film.
  30. KirkG
    Dec 25, 2007
    10
    Beautiful performances, breathtaking cinematography, and a scene in the hospital that leaves you emotionally devastated and in awe.
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.