Atonement – Movie Review


Atonement is directed by Joe Wright and it came out in 2007. This movie tells the story of an over-imaginative 13-year old girl who commits a crime she would have to spend her entire life atoning for. It stars an impressive cast including Saoirse Ronan, James McAvoy, Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch.

At my school we are doing the book which this movie was based on so I am very familiar with the source material. Obviously the book is much more detailed and it takes it’s time so not to make it rushed. That being said this movie is amazing in every single way. If I haven’t read the book I would say that this would be one of the hardest movies to watch because it’s a full on tragedy. Don’t worry, no spoilers in this review but I will definitely be doing a spoiler-review.

This is a movie which does it’s source material justice. Where can you start with a movie like this? Every single aspect of this movie is great, it’s by all means a perfect movie. It has a bit of everything: tragedy, romance, war, a huge twist, period piece and more. There’s a bit for everyone. Also this is one of those rare cases where critics and audiences alike loved this movie. It was also a huge awards juggernaut, it was nominated for seven Oscars including Best Picture and deservedly so.

The story of this movie is so unique and well thought out, it’s one of the best written movies I have ever seen. It’s a new type of tragedy, it’s not your typical Shakespearean tragedy like Romeo and Juliet or Othello, it’s very clever in setting up the dominoes. Also the way the story is split up is done really well, the transitions were smooth none of the “parts” are stretched or rushed. While the story has tragic elements to it, it’s not to put it simply, depressing all the time, it has it’s moments of joy, shock and romance as well.

The performances in this movie are excellent especially the ones from McAvoy, Knightley and Ronan. I’ve only seen McAvoy in this film and in Split (sorry I haven’t seen X-Men) but he is already one of my favourite actors. He was absolutely terrific as Robbie Turner. He evokes so much emotion, it’s crazy. Ronan is amazing as Briony, she proves that at such a young age she nails the character perfectly. She steals every scene she’s in, not with humor but with the amazing performance. she gives. Her character must be an actor’s dream role. Knightley is great as Cecilia, she did her research and it shows. From her accent to her posture she captures the thirties with grace and elegance.

The Oscar winning score from Dario Marianelli is a one of a kind. Such a brilliant move to cast a typewriter as an instrument, when you rewatch the movie you’ll be amazed by the meaning behind it. It’s a great score also because of the variety of emotion it has, this movie has a lot of different tone and the score captures them all and adds a layer of emotion to the movie. The set design and the cinematography go hand-in-hand in this movie, it’s a gorgeous looking movie, beautiful shots everywhere. In the second act there is a whole five minute single continuous. Also the costume design was a stand-out as well, particularly the work on Cecilia’s green dress at the dinner, it made her stand out and it captured her character at the same time.

Finally Atonement is a beautiful tragic love-story set in 1935. Gorgeous sets and eye-catching costumes fill this movie to the brim. It has some ridiculously great acting which is provided by it’s all star cast. It’s unique story is accompanied by an iconic score and script. This is one of the best romantic movies out there, I highly suggest you see it, AFTER reading the book. So glad my school introduced me to this amazing story.


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