the life that they deserved but were never able to live

Movie review. Atonement

“Bound by love. Separated by mistake. Reunited regardless of the consequences”

By Anastasia Saliy

The film I would like to review is titled “Atonement”. It is a French-British romantic war drama movie which was directed by Joe Wright, based on the novel of the same title, written by Ian McEwan. This movie came out in 2007.

James McAvoy and Keira Knightley have the leading roles in this movie, Saoirse Ronan, Romola Garai, Vanessa Redgrave and Benedict Cumberbatch have the supporting roles. This is a story about the relationship between the two main characters, a girl from a wealthy family named Cecilia and a son of the Cecilia’s family housekeeper named Robbie, as well as the complicated relationship between Cecilia and her younger sister Briony (Saoirse Ronan as Briony at the age of thirteen, Romola Garai as Briony at the age of eighteen Vanessa Redgrave as Briony at the age of seventy seven). 

One of the things that makes this movie so appealing is its plot – sophisticated and is not devoid of serious content. Besides, as far as the plot is concerned, I would also add that it is not a wafer-thin plot with a weak storyline, yet it holds a viewer in suspense all the time and gives food for thought. Furthermore, “Atonement” touches upon a crime and its baleful consequences over the course of six decades. 

The exposition of the story began in England in 1935 and continued before and during the Second World War. Hardly had Cecilia and Robbie been given a chance to be in love when a crime was committed on that glorious summer evening. One of the family’s dinner guests was found raped in the forest nearby. Later on, on account of Briony’s false testimony Robbie was convicted of rape and sent to prison whereas the real criminal was not caught. Robbie was offered a chance of going to prison or joining the army. In spite of Briony’s vivid and creative imagination it seems that she might have done it on purpose because she was jealous of Robbie and her elder sister. This case may be considered as a matter of opinion, but in fact but for Briony the beloved would have not been separated – and was it worth it? At the end of the movie, a seventy seven-year-old Briony who had become a famous writer was giving an interview and regretted doing that, but nobody could turn the clock back. Of all the things she could have done for them she was able to give them eternal life on the pages of her last book – the life that they deserved but were never able to live.

As far as the visual effects of the film such as the lighting and the locations are concerned, they all came together as a picture perfect combination. There were no distractions that might take our attention off the action. To my mind, the music was particularly touching and brilliant, leaving nobody indifferent. In addition to that, “Atonement” won an Oscar for Best Original Score at the 80th Academy Awards.

If I were a movie critic I would give this one nine out of ten points in the context of rating: the movie is truly amasing but the ending is too tragic, it touched me to the quick, made me cry and feel deeply sorry for the main characters. On the other hand, if somebody had told me about the ending and the outcome of the Cecilia and Robbie’s story beforehand this would have made the film less impressive. I would rather prefer to consider that the moral of the story is that one must not do what they want without little thought of the possible consequences, especially when it comes to love and personal relationships. Not all things that are done on the spur of the moment may be harmless; sometimes it is better to think twice.

To draw a conclusion, I would like to highlight that “Atonement” is a wonderful movie which reveals an increasing story of love and its subsequent tragedy. It as well as evokes a response that makes viewers think life is not always a bed of roses. I can’t get enough of this film and would recommend it for viewers of any age who want not only be entertained, but also be plunged in thought.