in most people's wishful thinking, this movie is about a dynamic romance torn apart by misunderstandings. a 13 year-old girl discovers her grown sister having sex with a family acquitance in her household library, and what follows is that the under-aged family nanny gets raped right afterwards. what happens is she mistakes her sister's precious boyfriend as rapist and reports him to the police. after realizing the consquences of her doings, she spends the rest of her life repenting over it. thus she writes a book called atonement just to grant them a falsified happy ending.
but the visage this movie applies is through the gaze of briony, the 13 year-old adolescent. the pleasure of watching atonement is peeping-tom-ism. the movie is not about the beauty of epic romance but the remorse of a pathetic voyeur, whose fright toward the discovery of her own sexuality and the danger of having your sexuality awakened in such early age before you acquires the art of coping with it. (very puritanical, i suppose).
the movie is presented through non-linear narratives from various perspectives, firstly briony's view, then the omniscient third-person visage, maybe occasionally the man's view or the woman's view. at last, you shall find out it is all happening within briony's mind. the more she reveals, the darker, the more vile the truth is. the truth is: she has a crush on her sister's boyfriend (she purposely jumps into the deep water just to have him save her, and risking your own life just for the attention of your crush hides something deeper and more fundamentally diseased beneath), but she is just 13 and she represses that. one day she discovers her much more matured, sensual and attractive sister having enchanted the man she loves, she gets pissed! she even reads his letter for her without permission (act of extreme jealousy)! she wants to punish him and her, and the best way is to report him as a rapist and ruin their lives. come on, she could have squared his record immediately but she waits more than 5 years, eventually just never! she claims to give up cambridge to be a nurse to compensate her sin so she could have remained an idealized sense of herself. as a matter of fact, she prefers to suffer just to have both of them doomed! even years of labors as a petite good nurse cannot ease off her vengeful desire for that! she cannot forgive them until she is about to die, till then, she could just give them a fictional happy ending. (in other words, she must have spent her whole life resenting cecilia for banging robbie, or vice versa)
atonement is not a romantic movie, and it should be a thriller about how dangerous your seemingly innocent little sister could have wretcked your life! why people've found it romantic and touching, because we were all briony wishing to be cecilia and robbie, and have that flamy kind of first love as they do. this movie floats through the gaze of briony, which is shared by the audience as well, we step into her shoes, understanding her panic, anguish, bitter jealousy meanwhile insanely envying the couple , and we are also hypocritical enough to bestow a virtual happy ending to the couple just to make oursevles feel better.
SPOILERS (adults only)
(ps) personally i enjoy the part james mcavoy types the letter for keira knightly, he is intended to pen her an innocent note of apology but he ends up composing a dirty poem "in my dreams/i wanna kiss your cunt/your sweet wet cunt" (oops!)...then he sends off the wrong note by mistake. it makes me laugh to think of how a frivolous little poem leads to a wild sexual encounter. (telling a chick how much you wish to endear yourself to her "genital" seems to work better than a polite note of sweet tenderness here..lol)
honestly, if i were briony, yes, i might read the letter, or "accidentally" witness their lovemaking. but the normal reaction is to be scared and intimidated because you don't wanna lose your sister's camaraderie or secretly get excited for it. gee, how many times during adolescence my sister pretended to take me out but she went out dating instead. i had to be her camouflage for many many times.
There's an evident amount of uneven pacing that retracts my willingness to give this movie five stars. However you can't help but appreciate this carefully crafted story, full of subtleties that work well as both plot points and foreshadowing.
Combine that with an array of competent actors including Ronan and you've got yourself an incredibly successful adaptation.
Director: Joe Wright
Summary: When 13-year-old Briony Tallis (Saoirse Ronan) discovers a lustful letter and witnesses a sexual encounter between her older sister (Keira Knightley) and a servant's son (James McAvoy), her confusion prompts her to finger the young man for a violent crime. Her half-truth changes their lives forever in this Oscar-nominated drama based on the critically acclaimed novel by Ian McEwan.
My Thoughts: "Great dramatic love story. I love Keira Knightley and James McAvoy in period pieces. They just fit the roles brilliantly. A really great job by a young Saoirse Ronan as Briony. All three actresses who played Briony were great. You believe these three actresses are one in this character. The story is quite bitter-sweet. *SPOILER MAYBE* You feel sympathy for Briony because she was never able to make piece with her sister or Robbie.*END OF SPOILER* I loved the way the film went back and forth to show you the lie and the truth. It made the story that much more easier to follow. I wouldn't mind seeing this again."
I finally decided to go to the movies and see Atonement, especially because it is the main leader in the Golden Globes nominations.
From the first image to the last, I was fascinated by the beauty of every single aspects this film shows. The direction, the screenplay, the acting, the photography, the art direction, the orignial score, everything was filled with passion and greatness that made me think that if it wasn't for No Country For Old Men, Atonement would definitely be the best movie of the year !
Don't be suprised that this magistral movie leads the Golden Globes, it totally earned it.
It's past time I wrote a proper review for Atonement, as it's am excellent movie in all aspects and a personal favorite of mine.
I'm quite the fan of Joe Wright. He's talented enough to make Pride & Prejudice into a movie that both guys and girls could enjoy, and pairing him with Keira Knightley again for another historical piece is basically a guarantee for success. The man knows how to craft a good drama.
The first thing I love about Atonement is the cinematography. From the opening portions in the beautiful English countryside, to wartime London and the British evacuation at Dunkirk, this is a startlingly beautiful movie. Not a moment passes by without something eye-catching in the frame. From the settings to the costumes, it's a cinematic showcase.
Second, the cast is outstanding. This was the movie that made Keira Knightley one of my five favorite current actresses, and made me a fan of James McAvoy. It was also the movie that proved that Saoirse Ronan is easily the best actress of her age. All three actresses who played Briony at different ages were good, but Ronan had the task of defining the character for the other two women, as well as the most challenging role in the movie. Her Academy Award nomination was completely deserved, especially for one so young.
Third, this is an excellent adaptation of an excellent book. It's a movie that easily could have seemed disjointed because of the way it switches time periods, settings, and tone, but every part of it works and flows together. The changes from period drama to war film and back to drama are pulled off flawlessly.
So yeah, I think very highly of Atonement. Any time a movie takes a genre that I'm not a huge fan of and MAKES me a huge fan, I'm impressed. It has something for almost everyone, and it's just a well-crafted film. Check it out, even if this kind of thing isn't normally to your taste.