Atonement Synopsis
Briony changes the course of several lives when she accuses her older sister’s (Keira Knightley) lover (James McAvoy) of a crime he did not commit. Based on the novel by Ian McEwan.
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Movie Reviews

Critic Ratings


Rolling Stone

By Peter Travers
Nothing in Joe Wright's screen version of Ian McEwan's dense, internalized 2001 novel of secrets and lies should really work, but damn near...
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San Francisco Chronicle

By Mick LaSalle
An unforgettable examination of a host of dark impulses.
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Wall Street Journal

By Joe Morgenstern
A singular achievement -- romantic, sensuous, intelligent and finally shattering in its sweep and thematic complexity.
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Chicago Sun-Times

By Roger Ebert
This is one of the year's best films, a certain best picture nominee.
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The Hollywood Reporter

By Ray Bennett
With compelling and charismatic performances by Keira Knightley and James McAvoy as the lovers, and a stunning contribution from Romola...
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Philadelphia Inquirer

By Carrie Rickey
In the end, Atonement sorts truth from fiction as it delivers a shattering kick to the solar plexus.
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New York Daily News

By Jack Mathews
It is an amazing story, filled with quiet moments of profundity and more surprises than you could imagine.
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Entertainment Weekly

By Lisa Schwarzbaum
In the end -- an ending of such power and narrative originality (in both book and movie) that those who know it ought never breathe a word...
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Boston Globe

By Ty Burr
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...
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USA Today

By Claudia Puig
The movie version feels like a stately, but watered down, episode of "Masterpiece Theatre" fused with "The English Patient."
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By fernhopper61
This film was the best I have seen all year and I TRULY believe that it will win best picture at the Oscars. Perfectly executed, this film (after the book) touched my heart and has been worth the...

The Brilliance of Atonement

By dezk
This film is beyond brilliant, beyond amazing. It is simply PERFECT. The acting is sensational, directing beautiful, musical score touching. This film will leave you with the same emotion that one...

OOOOOHHHHHH NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

.Oh Goody..............I get to be the FIRST ONE to tell you the PLAIN TRUTH about this... TWO HOURS AND THREE MINUTES of a plot that did not hold my attention. When Vanessa Redgrave appeared I.....I...

I want my 2hrs back.

By stewfoshie
The movie has to be the single most painful movie I have ever been subjected to. Even my better half who spuured me into watching thought it was horrible....

An Absolutely Refreshing Experience!!

By jaytrip75
I can honestly say that I came away from Atonement feeling an emotion I have never felt before. It was the feeling of pleasantly accepting an apology while still feeling the bitterness of the...

Visually Exquisite, But Not a Romance

By kayleighms
Based on the Ian McEwan bestseller of the same name, "Atonement" should not be mistaken as a romance. It is about the writer, not the lovers (from whom we are doubly removed). Yet "Atonement" is an...

Don't Do It!!!

By f4m
Minutes before movie, at dinner: Waiter: "Hey, I just thought I'd let you know that those 3 girls over there just came out of Atonement and said it was TERRIBLE." Brad: "We'll take our...

An Impeccable Love Story

By CynthiaC
An impeccable, dramatic adaptation of Ian McEwan`s bestseller. I read the novel before seeing it, and was impressed. Keira Knightley (Cecilia) is one of the greatest british actors of her time. And...

Very good. Nothing to atone for

By Johnsbury
Atonement is a well written, finely acted and superbly directed film. It held my interest throughout. Great job by director Joe Wright, who, like a painter, paints lovely scenes with the camera. It...

Well acted and ohhhhh sooooooo tragic.

By karensaucedo
I read the book first. The book was absolutely faithful to the book. Such a tragedy.....See it for the acting.....but don't rent it on a dark rainy day. You'll want sunshine and green grass and a...

More Info

Rated R | For disturbing war images, language and some sexuality
What Parents Need to Know
Common Sense Media says OK for kids 16+ Stellar literary adaptation too mature for kids.
Read the Common Sense Media Review