Saturday, November 29, 2008

Movie Review: Atonement

Photobucket Summary: We meet 13-year-old Briony Tallis in the summer of 1935, as she attempts to stage a production of her new drama "The Trials of Arabella" to welcome home her older, idolized brother Leon. But she soon discovers that her cousins, the glamorous Lola and the twin boys Jackson and Pierrot, aren't up to the task, and directorial ambitions are abandoned as more interesting prospects of preoccupation come onto the scene. The charlady's son, Robbie Turner, appears to be forcing Briony's sister Cecilia to strip in the fountain and sends her obscene letters; Leon has brought home a dim chocolate magnate keen for a war to promote his new "Army Ammo" chocolate bar; and upstairs, Briony's migraine-stricken mother Emily keeps tabs on the house from her bed. Soon, secrets emerge that change the lives of everyone present....

The interwar, upper-middle-class setting of the book's long, masterfully sustained opening section might recall Virginia Woolf or Henry Green, but as we move forward--eventually to the turn of the 21st century--the novel's central concerns emerge, and McEwan's voice becomes clear, even personal. For at heart, Atonement is about the pleasures, pains, and dangers of writing, and perhaps even more, about the challenge of controlling what readers make of your writing. McEwan shouldn't have any doubts about readers of Atonement: this is a thoughtful, provocative, and at times moving book that will have readers applauding.

Review: To be honest I have had this movie on DVR for a bit of time and wasn't sure if I wanted to watch it because it had gotten such mixed reviews from the book community. My sister who, like me, wanted to see it because of the critical acclaim, couldn't even finish it. I on the other hand came home from Thanksgiving and happened upon it on cable, so I watched it. I'm happy to say that I did.

While the movie was a bit slow in parts I thought the story was fascinating and very well told and true to the time period. I thought Keira Knightly was splendid as Cecilia and well James McAvoy is my new crush. He's utterly charming and sensitive as Robbie Turner. From the first time we see Cecilia and Robbie together you know that they are destined to be together. Of course nothing can be easy. Robbie and Cecilia have a bit of a tiff and when Robbie writes her a letter, actually 2 letters, you just know one version is going to be his downfall.

Enter Briony, Cecilia's younger sister. She's a bit imaginative and comes to imagine things she didn't see. What she thinks she sees is different than what she really sees and as viewers we know she's lying. Her lie, intentional or not, changes the course of 2 people lives. I'm not going to give anything away because it would completely ruin the movie.

It's a story of lies, jealousy, secrets but most of all love. I haven't read the book and probably won't but the movie was beautiful.

Movie Final Take: 4/5


Frankie and Bella November 30, 2008 at 4:39 AM  

I have to say I liked the movie better the book with this one?? Normally it's the other way around for me. I also love James McAvoy. :)

Frankie and Bella December 1, 2008 at 12:25 AM  

Oh Frankie you beat me to it. Yes I loved this movie as well. But I still really enjoyed the book. I did find the book a little heavy at times so it was nice just to see it all translated into film and sit there and enjoy.

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