Atonement

Atonement Image
Metascore
85

Universal acclaim - based on 36 Critics What's this?

User Score
7.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 480 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: Atonement spans several decades. In 1935, 13-year-old fledgling writer Briony Tallis and her family live a life of wealth and privilege in their enormous mansion. On the warmest day of the year, the country estate takes on an unsettling hothouse atmosphere, stoking Briony's vividAtonement spans several decades. In 1935, 13-year-old fledgling writer Briony Tallis and her family live a life of wealth and privilege in their enormous mansion. On the warmest day of the year, the country estate takes on an unsettling hothouse atmosphere, stoking Briony's vivid imagination. Robbie Turner, the educated son of the family's housekeeper, carries a torch for Briony's headstrong older sister, Cecilia. Cecilia, he hopes, has comparable feelings; all it will take is one spark for this relationship to combust. When it does, Briony--who has a crush on Robbie--is compelled to interfere, going so far as to accuse Robbie of a crime he did not commit. Cecilia and Robbie declare their love for each other, but Robbie is arrested--and with Briony bearing false witness, the course of three lives is changed forever. Briony continues to seek forgiveness for her childhood misdeed. Through a terrible and courageous act of imagination, she finds the path to her uncertain atonement and to an understanding of the power of enduring love. (Focus Features) Expand

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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 33 out of 36
  2. Negative: 0 out of 36
  1. 100
    Nothing comes easily in Atonement, especially its ending, which, both happy and tragic, is as wrenching as it is genuinely satisfying. How fitting, somehow, that a novel so devoted to the precision and passionate love of language be captured in a film that is simply too exquisite for words.
  2. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    100
    No two-hour film could ever capture all the riches of McEwan's masterly novel. But Wright and Hampton's Atonement comes tantalizingly close, while adding sensual delights all its own.
  3. An unforgettable examination of a host of dark impulses.
  4. 88
    Atonement is effective at getting under the skin, and some audience members won't like that.
  5. 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.
  6. It's an imperfect movie that serves as a perfect reminder of what the movies do best.
  7. Imagine if the team that made "The English Patient" tried to make the same kind of movie, with even more brave-lads-fighting-the-Jerries porn and this time with Extra Added English country manor porn, and without really good actors, and this movie is what you’d have.

See all 36 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 94 out of 163
  2. Negative: 37 out of 163
  1. 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.
  2. AmyS.
    Feb 15, 2008
    10
    Favourite movie of all time. love it.
  3. 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 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
  4. 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 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
  5. 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. 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 Expand
  6. 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 I liked about an hour of it. Unfortunately it was 2 hours long. Meandering, and, ultimately pointless. Keira Knightley though is absolutely spellbinding. Expand
  7. AlexS.
    Jan 16, 2008
    0
    Overrated Oscar bait.

See all 163 User Reviews

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