A false accusation changes forever the lives of a young teen (Romola Garai), her older sister (Keira Knightley) and the latter's innocent lover (James McAvoy).
Movie Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®
" A film that instantly joins the ranks of the great screen romances. "
" A gripping film. "
" As good a film as one could imagine having been made from a great work of contemporary fiction. "
" Atonement has hints of greatness but I think it falls just short of Oscar contention. "
" Atonement is a film out of balance, nimble enough in its first half but oddly scattered and ungainly once it leaves the grounds of the Tallis estate. "
" Atonement takes a familiar movie environment, a setting that we think we know, and uses it for an examination of a host of dark impulses, such as jealousy, lust, cruelty and deceit. "
" Atonement's extraordinary qualities outweigh any quibbles. "
" Christopher Hampton's screenplay respects the literary focus of Ian McEwan's novel without falling into the trap of becoming uncinematic. "
" Director Joe Wright and screenwriter Christopher Hampton not only blow the Merchant-Ivory dust off the British period movie, they transform Ian McEwan's interior novel into a sweeping epic that speaks to the 21st-century soul. "
" In its first 45 minutes, Atonement achieves a kind of perfection rare even for big Oscar-bait movies. Every facet of the filmmaking is the equal of any picture released this year. The rest of the movie isn't so bad. "
" It is an amazing story, filled with quiet moments of profundity and more surprises than you could imagine. "
" It ranks with the best novel adaptations of recent times. "
" Joe Wright directs Atonement with an eye to framing each performance with spectacularly vivid images, including a genuinely breathtaking tracking shot on the bloody, wreckage-strewn beach at Dunkirk. "
" On paper and on screen, Atonement is a story of rare beauty, both wrenching and wise. "
" One of the few adaptations that gives a novel the film it deserves. "
" The interpretation is so painstaking and moving that almost every moment delivers a shuddering jolt to the head and the heart. "
" The kind of classically contoured love story that American filmmakers have become (almost willfully) incapable of making anymore. "
" These performers not only have the looks for a sweeping love story, they also have the skill to throw themselves into the proceedings like they really mean it. "
" This is a film that might have contained itself better, but it still stings with bitter truth. "
" Atonement is not only too polite but maddeningly orderly, resulting in a prettily cast, professionally performed, impeccably mounted bore. "
See all Atonement Reviews
It's 1935, and the wealthy Tallis family is happily passing the hottest day of the year at their mansion in the British countryside. But when sparks fly between older daughter, Cecilia (Keira Knightley), and the housekeeper's son, Robbie Turner (James McAvoy), Cecilia's 13-year-old sister Briony (Saoirse Ronan) overactive imagination causes her to accuse him of a crime he didn't commit--driving a wedge between the young lovers possibly forever.
Based on the novel by Ian McEwan, Atonement is an epic war-time love story in the vein of The English Patient, and it does the genre proud. The actors are brimming with passion and angst--restrained, subtle, sympathetic and believable. And director Joe Wright (Pride & Prejudice) layers on gorgeous and striking imagery to add another layer to an already smart and spare script by Christopher Hampton. As beautiful as it is thought-provoking and soulful, Atonement is a December must-see.
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