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

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 365 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 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
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 33 out of 36
  2. Negative: 0 out of 36
  1. 100
    This is one of the few adaptations that gives a splendid novel the film it deserves.
  2. An unforgettable examination of a host of dark impulses.
  3. 100
    Nothing in Joe Wright's screen version of Ian McEwan's dense, internalized 2001 novel of secrets and lies should really work, but damn near everything does. It's some kind of miracle. Written, directed and acted to perfection, Atonement sweeps you up on waves of humor, heartbreak and ravishing romance.
  4. Hampton and Wright have been more than sensible when it comes to Atonement. They’ve responded intuitively to a tale that is half art and half potboiler, like so many stories worth telling.
  5. It is an amazing story, filled with quiet moments of profundity and more surprises than you could imagine.
  6. It's an imperfect movie that serves as a perfect reminder of what the movies do best.
  7. Reviewed by: Jeff Beresford-Howe
    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: 99 out of 157
  2. Negative: 37 out of 157
  1. May 26, 2013
    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. Expand
  2. Dec 26, 2011
    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 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
  3. Oct 12, 2012
    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. Expand
  4. May 29, 2011
    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 great in this movie. I recommend it! Expand
  5. Mar 12, 2013
    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. Expand
  6. May 5, 2012
    movie began a bit slow, but got better later.
  7. Mar 16, 2013
    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. Expand

See all 157 User Reviews