Starring Keira Knightly, James McAvoy, and Saoirse Ronan
Directed by Joe Wright (Pride and Prejudice)
Rated R for disturbing war images, language, and some sexuality
Appropriate for ages 17+
The Story: Set during WWII, Atonement follows a young couple in love (McAvoy and Knightly) and the girl that tears them apart (Ronan) when she is confused by a highly volatile situation. The two lovers try to make their relationship work out through the war, and the young girl attempts to atone for the horrible wrong she committed as a child.
The Good: It was apparent from Pride and Prejudice that director Joe Wright has a real eye for beauty and this is film is no different. With Seamus McGarvey at the camera and Dario Marianelli’s beautiful Golden Globe winning score, Atonement provides for the most inspiring cinematic experience of the year.
Atonement also finds itself in possession of one of the most amazing scenes to ever be put on film. Watch for the moment that the English are on the beach awaiting to evacuate France. This particular scene is one extended shot, no cuts, and utilizes hundreds of extras, perfectly choreographed with matching choral and instrumental music. It’s only five minutes long, but it’s truly one of the most impressive things I’ve ever seen.
It doesn’t hurt that the acting and writing are top notch as well, but they are overshadowed by the production.
The Bad: This is not a happy love story. If The English Patient or Cold Mountain made you miserable, then this might not be up your alley. Tragic romances aren’t for everyone, but when they are as well done as this, I hope that they can still be fully appreciated at the very least.
The Summary: Both beautiful and sad, this is a masterpiece of a romance.