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. 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
  2. KY.
    Feb 20, 2008
    10
    Brilliant movie!
  3. Angie
    Apr 20, 2008
    10
    Loved it!
  4. RJ
    Mar 31, 2008
    10
    Amazing emotional story. There is some very honest acting in this film.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. TomekC.
    Feb 11, 2008
    10
    Wonderful movie, I didn't expect that it would be possible to translate book into the film so perfectly.
  10. 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!
  11. 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.
  12. 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!
  13. ebl.
    Dec 22, 2007
    10
    Brooding, exquisitely acted and beautifully filmed. i am surprised by the negative reviews of the film.
  14. KirkG
    Dec 25, 2007
    10
    Beautiful performances, breathtaking cinematography, and a scene in the hospital that leaves you emotionally devastated and in awe.
  15. 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
  16. 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.
  17. ChrisJ.
    Dec 7, 2007
    10
    Very moving, faithful adaption of a great novel.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. 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!
  21. 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
  22. AmyS.
    Feb 15, 2008
    10
    Favourite movie of all time. love it.
  23. 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
  24. DanP.
    Mar 28, 2008
    10
    An epic of wrenching emotion.
  25. 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.
  26. MikS.
    Apr 24, 2008
    10
    Shame on those people who voted five below on this movie! Do they have emotions??
  27. 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.
  28. 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?
  29. 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!
  30. 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.
  31. CasperY
    Dec 15, 2007
    10
    Best film of the last two years...every element serves a purpose for the whole upon close inspection.
  32. 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!
  33. 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
  34. 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.
  35. MyriamMathieu-Bédard
    Dec 9, 2007
    10
    Beautiful in every possible way.
  36. DrewP
    Jan 12, 2008
    10
    Phenomenal film, brilliantly acted, and the cinematography is flawless. Best movie of 2007.
  37. charmaineh.
    Jan 16, 2008
    10
    This movie was so beautifully done, everything about it was stunning.
  38. RubyRuby
    Dec 13, 2008
    10
    It's like the perfect movie.
  39. 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
  40. 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.
  41. 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!!!
  42. 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.
  43. 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
  44. 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
  45. 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
  46. 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.
  47. 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.
  48. 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
  49. SeanC.
    Feb 24, 2008
    9
    Nice story line with not your typical predictable ending. Great acting by James McAvoy!
  50. 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
  51. 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
  52. 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.
  53. 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.
  54. 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.
  55. CamL.
    Apr 13, 2008
    9
    This was a fantastic film. Not having read the book, the story arc took my breath away.
  56. 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
  57. 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.
  58. 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.
  59. 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
  60. 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.
  61. SimonJ>
    Mar 24, 2008
    9
    Well acted, stylish, good soundtrack. If you don't like this film you don't like movies.
  62. Akispapas
    Apr 13, 2008
    9
    great movie...
  63. 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
  64. TennisMenace
    May 27, 2008
    9
    Very creative.
  65. 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
  66. 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.
  67. JimmyS.
    Dec 21, 2008
    9
    Redemption song
  68. 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
  69. 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.
  70. 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
  71. NancyH
    Jan 29, 2008
    8
    Well done. Vanessa Redgrave is always amazing to watch.
  72. JonathanF.
    Jan 13, 2008
    8
    8.5/10 As beautiful a film as it is a story, Atonement is solidly acted and brilliantly filmed. Although it hits a lag after the first hour where the story is thrillingly paced - and accompanied by an exciting typewriter score - it eventually picks up again for the blind-sidingly tragic ending. Without the lagging sequence in the middle, I would likely have rated this a 10. And without 8.5/10 As beautiful a film as it is a story, Atonement is solidly acted and brilliantly filmed. Although it hits a lag after the first hour where the story is thrillingly paced - and accompanied by an exciting typewriter score - it eventually picks up again for the blind-sidingly tragic ending. Without the lagging sequence in the middle, I would likely have rated this a 10. And without the brlliantly original and sad ending it would have been a 7. Juno is my favourite of 2007, but this is a close second with No Country for Old Men. Expand
  73. LuisG.
    Feb 27, 2008
    8
    McAvoy was snubbed at the oscars in this classic film. Knightley shines as always. Redgrave was perhaps the biggest dissapointment. Garai eerily resembled to a trouble misguided teen. Beautiful score and cinematography.
  74. 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.
  75. 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
  76. 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.
  77. 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.
  78. 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.
  79. 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!)
  80. 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.
  81. 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
  82. 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.
  83. 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.
  84. 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.
  85. 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.
  86. 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
  87. 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.
  88. Sebastian
    Jan 16, 2008
    7
    Atonement offers plenty for the eyes, but the soul is left wanting. Flatly, what's missing in Atonement is atonement. Sure, a good 1/5 of the movie addresses some manner of recompense, but the movie's focal point is desire turned inexplicably to love and then crushed under betrayal, war, and a lot of other just generally evil stuff. The subsequent struggle for "atonement" is Atonement offers plenty for the eyes, but the soul is left wanting. Flatly, what's missing in Atonement is atonement. Sure, a good 1/5 of the movie addresses some manner of recompense, but the movie's focal point is desire turned inexplicably to love and then crushed under betrayal, war, and a lot of other just generally evil stuff. The subsequent struggle for "atonement" is ostensibly deep but the viewer never really gets underneath the skin of the character's anxiety. The movie would stick more to the viewer's spirit if the "atonement" would have been more naked. Instead, we are left with a beautiful bunch of evaporating sadness. Expand
  89. KenD.
    Jul 26, 2008
    7
    Wright is plainly a great technician, but it's hard to escape the feeling that he'd swap art for art direction given half a chance. Great films leave gaps into which you can insert yourself. This one seems more interested in making its characters and themes understandable to anyone paying the slightest bit of attention, so it loses some power in the process. You do admire it but Wright is plainly a great technician, but it's hard to escape the feeling that he'd swap art for art direction given half a chance. Great films leave gaps into which you can insert yourself. This one seems more interested in making its characters and themes understandable to anyone paying the slightest bit of attention, so it loses some power in the process. You do admire it but you don't ponder it. Expand
  90. PatG.
    Dec 11, 2007
    7
    Much about this film was very interesting, but I am amazed that not one person, professional or amateur, has mentioned what troubles me the most. That is that I find it VERY hard to believe that Robbie would have made the dumb mistake he made. It is just not credible. And, of course, the whole plot rides on that move. Sigh. . . . I did like the movie overall, but it has to be in spite of Much about this film was very interesting, but I am amazed that not one person, professional or amateur, has mentioned what troubles me the most. That is that I find it VERY hard to believe that Robbie would have made the dumb mistake he made. It is just not credible. And, of course, the whole plot rides on that move. Sigh. . . . I did like the movie overall, but it has to be in spite of that glaring flaw. Talk about the need to suspend disbelief! Expand
  91. May 5, 2012
    7
    movie began a bit slow, but got better later.
  92. 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.
  93. 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.
  94. DWilly
    Dec 10, 2007
    6
    An odd and awkward movie that nevertheless manages a few good stabs in the heart, thanks mostly to the potent reality of WWII, James McAvoy, Saoirse Ronan (is there a law that good child actors must have bizzare names?), and a little to Keira Knightly. The direction is capable, but at times flamboyant in a way that seems inorganic, and the story rather a hurky-jerky mess. If there was any An odd and awkward movie that nevertheless manages a few good stabs in the heart, thanks mostly to the potent reality of WWII, James McAvoy, Saoirse Ronan (is there a law that good child actors must have bizzare names?), and a little to Keira Knightly. The direction is capable, but at times flamboyant in a way that seems inorganic, and the story rather a hurky-jerky mess. If there was any actual atonement, I missed it. Expand
  95. JenniferC
    Dec 30, 2007
    6
    Two old-school extremely knowledgeable film veterans review ATONEMENT. It's a great review - and leaves you something to think about. Check it out on YouTube... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NPJpnaEnAvE Beware...may contain spoilers
  96. RichardW.
    Jan 4, 2008
    6
    Beautifully filmed but so very sloooooow.
  97. ng
    Feb 20, 2008
    6
    The whole story feels like a made-up and most of the scenes are so *** unnatural. Yet somehow it is heart touching maybe because of the girl who's the only intense character here. A good thing to see but only once.
  98. RonC.
    Jan 22, 2008
    6
    The central problem with this film and too many films made over the past 15-20 years is that the editing becomes the most important character. The is one more story told out of time sequence, not because it is a dramatic need of one of the characters (say a character with amnesia who remembers only bits of her past and we take that journey of remembrance with her), but because it is a The central problem with this film and too many films made over the past 15-20 years is that the editing becomes the most important character. The is one more story told out of time sequence, not because it is a dramatic need of one of the characters (say a character with amnesia who remembers only bits of her past and we take that journey of remembrance with her), but because it is a structural need for the screenwriter to achieve his plot twist at the end. The writer simply cannot take us on a worthwhile journey starting us at A and ending us at Z, and so flashes us backwards and forwards in time until we're so good and seasick that anything he present in the last 15 minutes of the movie will be a stunner. The interesting thing is that Atonement would have been a good movie without the manipulation. The direction is spot on and the performances compelling. But because I know I was being led around by the nose by the writer, it kicked up all my authority issues and I just refused to be moved. Expand
  99. 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. Collapse
  100. LindaL.
    Jan 27, 2008
    6
    What I was hoping for: Something like "The English Patient." What I got: Something like "Masterpiece Theater."
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.