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Based on 36 Reviews
critic reviews (10)
fan reviews ( 102 )
  • 100
    Peter Travers Rolling Stone

    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 everything does. It's some kind of miracle. Written, directed and acted to perfection, Atonement sweeps you up on waves of humor, heartbreak and ravishing romance. show more

  • 100
    Mick LaSalle San Francisco Chronicle

    An unforgettable examination of a host of dark impulses. show more

  • 63
    Claudia Puig USA Today

    The movie version feels like a stately, but watered down, episode of "Masterpiece Theatre" fused with "The English Patient." show more

  • 100
    Joe Morgenstern Wall Street Journal

    A singular achievement -- romantic, sensuous, intelligent and finally shattering in its sweep and thematic complexity. show more

  • 88
    Carrie Rickey Philadelphia Inquirer

    In the end, Atonement sorts truth from fiction as it delivers a shattering kick to the solar plexus. show more

  • 75
    Jack Mathews New York Daily News

    It is an amazing story, filled with quiet moments of profundity and more surprises than you could imagine. show more

  • 90
    Ray Bennett The Hollywood Reporter

    With compelling and charismatic performances by Keira Knightley and James McAvoy as the lovers, and a stunning contribution from Romola Garai as their remorseful nemesis, the film goes directly to "The English Patient" territory and might also expect rapturous audiences and major awards. show more

  • 100
    Roger Ebert Chicago Sun-Times

    This is one of the year's best films, a certain best picture nominee. show more

  • 100
    Connie Ogle Miami Herald

    The interpretation is so painstaking and moving that almost every moment delivers a shuddering jolt to the head and the heart. show more

  • 100
    Lou Lumenick New York Post

    What might seem like showing off in another movie is dazzling storytelling here, packing in an hour's worth of human misery. show more

  • April 23, 2010 drarthurwells
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    Great film, well made.

  • August 11, 2008 nclark591
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    I DEFINITELY did not find atonement to be slow or boring like so many others have. The only poeple who say it " dragged on" are those that don't have the attention span of a normal human being and cannot keep up with a fairly SIMPLE plot. It's made very clear what's going on in the movie if you PAY ATTENTION. It was not at all a waste of time or boring.I found it to be the exact opposite, pulling me in more and more with every scene. You become emotinally connected to the characters and genuinely concerned about what happens to them. Because of this, though, i will admit you get set up for heartache. I found that for hours after the movie had ended i still felt a little unsettled. The storytelling was amazing and the acting was phenomenal, and passionate.. However, i will say that the film's injustices were pretty hard on the heart...on the other hand, when a movie effects your emotions , it's obviously done it's job.

  • July 27, 2008 JushiBuruBeri
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    I found this movie to be painfully long and boring. I usually love these types of movies and I was very excited to see it. Shortly before I left my home to see the movie, I found out the director was the same person who directed Pride and Prejudice, another painfully long and boring movie. I agree that the cinematography was beautiful and the storyline was pretty good, but I thought the movie was a lot more long and drawn-out than really necessary. I was also irritated by the music in the movie, which at times would make my heart race only for absoultely NOTHING to happen. I would keep getting excited by the music and then *poof* NOTHING. If you like long, period piece-type movies, I would urge anyone to see The Painted Veil or Memiors of a Geisha. In these movies, cinematography, music, and plot blend seamlessly, while in Atonement you can only focus on one thing at a time. It seemed like the plot would be put on hold for 25 minutes while I watched nothing happen in front of beautiful scenery. Maybe Ed Norton should've directed this one (he directed The Painted Veil).

  • June 18, 2008 clairekellock
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    Absolutely brilliant. It's been a long time since I've been so rivetted by this movie - I had planned to go out and just started the movie to fill the time before leaving; but after the first thirty minutes I tore up the shopping list, ignored the phone and just sat staring at the movie. My parents watched it too and I never in a million years thought it would be their cup of tea, but they said that it would be a long time before they saw a film of such quality. If you like drama and superb plotlines, ignore any posts that call it slow or boring. The ending blew my mind (although apparently slightly different from the book) Five stars.

  • May 22, 2008 maxed49
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    Can't figure out why this movie was made. Was slow and depressing. The character who waited until she was dying to tell the truth of how she ruined two lives had no courage whatsoever. She did nothing for her two victims. She got rich writing books. She never had the courage to tell the truth aboutthe "fake rape" between the chocolate manufacturer and the consensual sex he had with the girl. What about some justice somewhere in this movie? Downer.

  • May 22, 2008 judy perez
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    Slow.....Boring.....Stupid. What more needs to be said!!!!!

  • May 22, 2008 annmeyer123
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    I in no way thought that this film was boring or slow. I can't believe how some couldn't appreciate the beauty and significance that this film protrays. If you actually watch the film and open your hearts, you will get the theme and tragedy of the movie. I thought the performances were mesmerizing, the setting was amazing, and the plot tragic, yet penetrating. I find the film to be a brilliant interpretation of McEwan novel, which amazingly dipicts and stays true to the reality and consequences of a forever changing lie. I found this film to be one of the best romance movies of all time. It touches you deeply and shakes your soul to its core.

  • May 22, 2008 paulandkaye
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    No one could predict the ending in this classic piece of film making. It is Casablanca, Wuthering Heights and Gone With the Wind with 2 hours of fantasic scenery, musical score and over-all outstanding acting for all members of the cast. The theme carries throughout the film and the viewer will eventually feel that the atonement for misdeeds has been paid for time and again. Truly a beautiful film.

  • May 22, 2008 heavilybrokenx34
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    i read the book before i saw the film and im glad i did because it helped me know what was going oni really loved it i thought it was excellent, keira knightley and james mcavoy did a wonderful job portraying the characters of Robbie and Cecilia as well as saorise as briony.the setting was beautiful, the costume designs were perfect and i love that green dress on keira knightley she look gorgeous and the music was perfect for the story.i will buy this the day it comes out on DVD =]

  • May 22, 2008 biker oly
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    First movie I have walked out midway in a very long time. Unbelievably slow and predictable. My 'Chick Flick' wife was the first to say 'Let's cut our losses and get out of here!'

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