• R, 2 hr. 3 min.
  • Drama, Romance
  • Directed By:
    Joe Wright
    In Theaters:
    Sep 7, 2007 Wide
    On DVD:
    Mar 18, 2008
  • Focus Features

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Atonement Reviews

Bob Mondello
NPR.org
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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.

Full Review Source: NPR.org

October 18, 2008
Christopher Orr
The New Republic
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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.

Full Review Source: The New Republic

September 22, 2008
David Fear
Time Out New York
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Atonement's extraordinary qualities outweigh any quibbles.

Full Review Source: Time Out New York | Original Score: 4/6

January 18, 2008
Kenneth Turan
Newsday
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One of the few adaptations that gives a novel the film it deserves.

Full Review Source: Newsday | Original Score: 3.5/4

January 14, 2008
Roger Moore
Orlando Sentinel
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A film that instantly joins the ranks of the great screen romances.

Full Review Source: Orlando Sentinel | Original Score: 5/5

December 20, 2007
Connie Ogle
Miami Herald
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The interpretation is so painstaking and moving that almost every moment delivers a shuddering jolt to the head and the heart.

| Original Score: 4/4

December 14, 2007
Tom Long
Detroit News
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This is a film that might have contained itself better, but it still stings with bitter truth.

Full Review Source: Detroit News | Original Score: B

December 14, 2007
Bruce Newman
San Jose Mercury News
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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.

Full Review Source: San Jose Mercury News | Original Score: 2.5/4

December 13, 2007
Richard Roeper
Ebert & Roeper
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Atonement has hints of greatness but I think it falls just short of Oscar contention.

December 10, 2007
Ray Bennett
Hollywood Reporter
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It ranks with the best novel adaptations of recent times.

December 7, 2007
Joe Morgenstern
Wall Street Journal
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As good a film as one could imagine having been made from a great work of contemporary fiction.

Full Review Source: Wall Street Journal

December 7, 2007
Geoff Pevere
Toronto Star
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Atonement is not only too polite but maddeningly orderly, resulting in a prettily cast, professionally performed, impeccably mounted bore.

Full Review Source: Toronto Star | Original Score: 2/4

December 7, 2007
Moira MacDonald
Seattle Times
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On paper and on screen, Atonement is a story of rare beauty, both wrenching and wise.

Full Review Source: Seattle Times | Original Score: 4/4

December 7, 2007
Mick LaSalle
San Francisco Chronicle
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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.

Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle | Original Score: 4/4

December 7, 2007
Stephen Whitty
Newark Star-Ledger
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A gripping film.

Full Review Source: Newark Star-Ledger

December 7, 2007
Lou Lumenick
New York Post
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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.

Full Review Source: New York Post | Original Score: 4/4

December 7, 2007
Jack Mathews
New York Daily News
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It is an amazing story, filled with quiet moments of profundity and more surprises than you could imagine.

Full Review Source: New York Daily News | Original Score: 3/4

December 7, 2007

Minneapolis Star Tribune
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Christopher Hampton's screenplay respects the literary focus of Ian McEwan's novel without falling into the trap of becoming uncinematic.

Full Review Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune | Original Score: 3.5/4

December 7, 2007
Kenneth Turan
Los Angeles Times
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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.

Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times | Original Score: 4.5/5

December 7, 2007
Eric Harrison
Houston Chronicle
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It is mindful art doubling as unapologetic entertainment, an ode to eros and errors assembled with vision and meticulous care.

Full Review Source: Houston Chronicle | Original Score: 3.5/4

December 7, 2007
Lisa Kennedy
Denver Post
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Craft is everywhere in the film, in many touches that make it elegantly forceful.

Full Review Source: Denver Post | Original Score: 3.5/4

December 7, 2007
Chris Vognar
Dallas Morning News
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Atonement does what a tragic romance is supposed to do.

Full Review Source: Dallas Morning News | Original Score: B+

December 7, 2007
Peter Rainer
Christian Science Monitor
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Given the difficulties in transferring Ian McEwan's trickily structured 2001 novel Atonement to the screen, director Joe Wright and screenwriter Christopher Hampton have done a commendable job. Commendable but not electrifying.

Full Review Source: Christian Science Monitor | Original Score: B+

December 7, 2007
Ty Burr
Boston Globe
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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.

Full Review Source: Boston Globe | Original Score: 3/4

December 7, 2007
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
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This is one of the year's best films, a certain best picture nominee.

Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times | Original Score: 4/4

December 7, 2007
Stephanie Zacharek
Salon.com
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Wright has made a film that honors the imaginative responsibility of an adapter.

Full Review Source: Salon.com

December 6, 2007
Claudia Puig
USA Today
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The arc and resolution don't feel nearly as absorbing and devastating as McEwan's masterful novel.

Full Review Source: USA Today | Original Score: 2.5/4

December 6, 2007
A.O. Scott
New York Times
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Atonement is an almost classical example of how pointless, how diminishing, the transmutation of literature into film can be.

| Original Score: 2/5

December 6, 2007
Michael Phillips
Chicago Tribune
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Now and then you find a period picture that affords this sort of rightness of scale and satisfaction.

Full Review Source: Chicago Tribune | Original Score: 3.5/4

December 6, 2007
J. R. Jones
Chicago Reader
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Screenwriter Christopher Hampton and director Joe Wright have smartly dramatized the book's wartime romance and tragedy.

Full Review Source: Chicago Reader

December 6, 2007
Ann Hornaday
Washington Post
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In the almost spookily capable hands of 34-year-old director Joe Wright, the film version of Atonement has achieved that to which every literary adaptation should aspire.

Full Review Source: Washington Post

December 6, 2007
Bill Goodykoontz
Arizona Republic
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Part highbrow British drawing-room drama, part gritty war film, all entertainment almost all the time, Atonement is a masterful study of both the hurtful and redemptive effects of imagination.

Full Review Source: Arizona Republic | Original Score: 4.5/5

December 6, 2007
Carrie Rickey
Philadelphia Inquirer
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An impeccable craftsman in the tradition of David Lean, Wright possesses the late director's considerable gifts for drawing out his actors.

Full Review Source: Philadelphia Inquirer | Original Score: 3.5/4

December 6, 2007
Ella Taylor
Village Voice
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Where McEwan whispers, Wright shouts.

Full Review Source: Village Voice

December 6, 2007
Christy Lemire
Associated Press
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It's just exceptionally well-crafted.

Full Review Source: Associated Press

December 5, 2007
James Berardinelli
ReelViews
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The film is gorgeous to look at, well paced (especially during the first half), and by turns touching and sad. The ending packs an emotional punch, which is what one would expect from any movie developed from a McEwan novel.

Full Review Source: ReelViews | Original Score: 3.5/4

December 5, 2007
Andrew Sarris
New York Observer
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One of the most successful adaptations of a distinguished novel I have ever seen.

Full Review Source: New York Observer

December 5, 2007
Rex Reed
New York Observer
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Atonement is everything a true lover of literature and movies could possibly hope for. It is unquestionably, without any reservations, my favorite film of the year.

Full Review Source: New York Observer

December 5, 2007
David Ansen
Newsweek
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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.

Full Review Source: Newsweek

December 3, 2007
Anthony Lane
New Yorker
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I hardly believed a word of it.

Full Review Source: New Yorker

December 3, 2007
David Edelstein
New York Magazine
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The film is absorbing and evocative.

Full Review Source: New York Magazine

December 3, 2007
Lisa Schwarzbaum
Entertainment Weekly
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[This] movie is abundantly attractive, every scene serenely composed, and every character so fair in love and war that, when the lights come up, it's too easy to say, ''That was good and sad and romantic and classy, now what's for dinner?''

Full Review Source: Entertainment Weekly | Original Score: B

November 28, 2007
Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
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It's some kind of miracle. Written, directed and acted to perfection, Atonement sweeps you up on waves of humor, heartbreak and ravishing romance.

| Original Score: 4/4

November 28, 2007

Globe and Mail
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There's much to admire about this adaptation of the Ian McEwan novel, enough that its occasional faltering can be easily forgiven.

Full Review Source: Globe and Mail | Original Score: 3/4

September 6, 2007
Derek Elley
Variety
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Rarely has a book sprung so vividly to life, but also worked so enthrallingly in pure movie terms.

Full Review Source: Variety

August 30, 2007
Dave Calhoun
Time Out
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A noble, well-made, superbly performed and photographed (by Seamus McGarvey) semi-failure.

Full Review Source: Time Out | Original Score: 3/6

April 19, 2007
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