User Score
7.7

Generally favorable reviews- based on 413 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 52 out of 413
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  1. G.aryW.
    Mar 25, 2008
    4
    I liked about an hour of it. Unfortunately it was 2 hours long. Meandering, and, ultimately pointless. Keira Knightley though is absolutely spellbinding.
  2. Kayleighms
    Mar 28, 2008
    5
  3. DanP.
    Mar 28, 2008
    10
    An epic of wrenching emotion.
  4. 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.
  5. JayH.
    Mar 6, 2008
    7
    The quality of the film is exceptional, art direction, cinematography, costumes and score. Very well written, acted and directed. Saorise Ronan is great. It can be a little slow at times, but it is most always interesting. A bit too long as well.
  6. CraigA.
    Apr 10, 2008
    4
    Very disappointing ending. Pointless red herrings.
  7. Akispapas
    Apr 13, 2008
    9
    great movie...
  8. DelilahB.
    Apr 20, 2008
    7
    This movie has some amazing acting and a heart-wrenching story, but none of the characters have much substance besides James McAvoy's. It also goes on a little too long, and some one of the opening England countryside scenes get a little boring. But it is a good story despite it's flaws.
  9. MikS.
    Apr 24, 2008
    10
    Shame on those people who voted five below on this movie! Do they have emotions??
  10. 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
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. TennisMenace
    May 27, 2008
    9
    Very creative.
  14. 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?
  15. 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!
  16. 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
  17. 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.
  18. CasperY
    Dec 15, 2007
    10
    Best film of the last two years...every element serves a purpose for the whole upon close inspection.
  19. 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
  20. 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!
  21. 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
  22. 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
  23. BR.
    Dec 20, 2007
    5
    A chic flick dressed up in British WWII garb. World War II seemed shorter that this movie.
  24. 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
  25. 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.
  26. 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.
  27. 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.
  28. MyriamMathieu-Bédard
    Dec 9, 2007
    10
    Beautiful in every possible way.
  29. DrewP
    Jan 12, 2008
    10
    Phenomenal film, brilliantly acted, and the cinematography is flawless. Best movie of 2007.
  30. 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.
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.