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Atonement (2007)

Fledgling writer Briony Tallis, as a thirteen-year-old, irrevocably changes the course of several lives when she accuses her older sister's lover of a crime he did not commit.

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Writers:

(novel), (screenplay)
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Popularity
297 ( 104)

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Through the Lens of 'Darkest Hour' Director Joe Wright

See how director Joe Wright uses his signature tracking shots to set up a visual narrative for his films, including Atonement, The Soloist, and Hanna.

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Won 1 Oscar. Another 50 wins & 146 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Ailidh Mackay ...
Singing Housemaid
...
Grace Turner
Julia West ...
Betty
...
...
Emily Tallis
...
...
Felix von Simson ...
Pierrot Quincey (as Felix Von Simson)
Charlie von Simson ...
Jackson Quincey (as Charlie Von Simson)
...
Danny Hardman
...
...
...
...
Police Constable
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Storyline

SPOILER: When Briony Tallis, 13 years old and an aspiring writer, sees her older sister Cecilia and Robbie Turner at the fountain in front of the family estate she misinterprets what is happening thus setting into motion a series of misunderstandings and a childish pique that will have lasting repercussions for all of them. Robbie is the son of a family servant toward whom the family has always been kind. They paid for his time at Cambridge and now he plans on going to medical school. After the fountain incident, Briony reads a letter intended for Cecilia and concludes that Robbie is a deviant. When her cousin Lola is raped, she tells the police that it was Robbie she saw committing the deed. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Torn apart by betrayal. Separated by war. Bound by love See more »

Genres:

Drama | Mystery | Romance | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for disturbing war images, language and some sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

| |

Language:

|

Release Date:

11 January 2008 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Expiación, deseo y pecado  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$30,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£1,634,065 (United Kingdom), 9 September 2007, Limited Release

Opening Weekend USA:

$796,836, 9 December 2007, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$50,927,067

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$129,266,061
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

|

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Vanessa Redgrave (Older Briony) is the former mother-in-law of the producer Robert Fox as he was married to her daughter Natasha Richardson from 1990 to 1992. See more »

Goofs

When Robbie gives Briony the letter for her sister, she arrives at the fence with the hem of her collar down. In the next shot, her collar is up. In the next shot, it's down again. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Briony Tallis, aged 13: I finished my play.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The title types itself out like on a typewriter. See more »

Connections

References Oh! What a Lovely War (1969) See more »

Soundtracks

Dear Lord and Father of Mankind
Written by Sir Charles Hubert Hastings Parry (as Charles Parry), John Greenleaf Whittier (as John Whittier)
Performed by Bede College Choir
Courtesy of Universal Studios
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
I will tell you exactly why this movie is painfully bad...
25 April 2008 | by See all my reviews

I will not say that this is a really bad movie because a lot of people think it is really good and, unlike some others, I am not arrogant enough to think that my taste should set the standard for everyone else. There is no accounting for taste, even bad taste.

However, I thought it was a painfully bad movie and I will tell you very specifically why.

First, some specific things that prevented a knowledgeable viewer from sympathizing with the characters.

1. In the promo they say that a young girl sees something she doesn't understand and mistakenly tells a story that that has tragic consequences. That entire sentence isn't a quote, but "something she doesn't understand" is. In fact, she sees several things and she does understand enough to know what is going on. The specific event that tops off the sequence of events that ruin lives is one she knowingly lies about whether or not she fully understands it, and she clearly has set out to destroy a man's life (apparently motivated by jealousy). Even before the "main event," she says that he should be put away where he can hurt no one.

2. It is said in one of the promo trailers (no spoiler here) that Robbie had the choice between prison and going to war. Well, this was a part of WWII that most Americans don't know about because America hadn't entered it at that time, but all able-bodied men in the UK went to war.

3. The scene in the library was absurd. To disrespect one's family by doing something like that in a library with a horde of people wandering around would have been the height of disrespect and stupidity.

4. In the 1930's in Britain (or America for that matter), if a father caught his daughter engaged in (or learned of) the acts that actually did occur the boy would find going to prison to be one of the nicer things that might happen to him.

Now, about the structure of the movie:

The story has a beginning and an end. Most of the story should have taken place in a middle that does not exist in the movie. There are events with major consequences for all involved: the girl (Briony), Cecelia, Robbie, the Tallis, Quincy, and Turner families, as well as others. These events take place in the beginning of the story: And the consequences? We learn nothing of what happened except a little of Briony, that Robbie chose war, and that Cecelia stayed around, possibly waiting for Robbie – or possibly not, as we learn near the end of the film. The middle of the story is related in a few sentences.

The end of the film is supposed to show the "atonement". Presumably, this is Briony's atonement for ruining a few lives – we don't know how many because that would have occurred in the middle of the story. Atonement is "satisfaction given for wrongdoing." Unless one includes satisfaction obtained by the wrongdoer, which I don't think counts, there is no atonement.

So, what does one have? Some very unlikable characters, some of whom have bad things happen to them because of bad things done by other unlikable characters. The few likable characters disappear during the non-existent middle of the story.

If you choose to see this movie you may very well find something to like, but I don't think it will be anything that is a part of the story.


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