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  • Writer's pictureMax Markowitz


Epicly Romantic & Beautiful

Atonement is not a powerful enough word to even try to change the actions we wish we never did. The word Atonement itself is a perfect title for the film because it represents desires that are impossible and don't matter at all to the victims.

Beginning in the late 1930s, Atonement is about Robbie Turner (James McAvoy) and Cecilia Tallis (Keira Knightley), a young couple whose lives are torn apart by a lie manufactured by Cecilia’s jealous younger sister Briony (Saoirse Ronan). The lies separate the couple as World War II inches it's way closer to the shores of England.

All three performances were transformatively magnificent. It's hard for me to comprehend that they're even acting. The growth the characters obtain by learning who they all are doesn't seem like something you can make up. Of course, learning who you are is at least psychologically, a big deal given the time period when it wasn't as socially acceptable to be so open with one another. Life itself had a very specific code of conduct and one must never fall out of line.

That really says a lot about Cecilia in particular. Initially, she comes off as snobbish and a bit of a brat but that's just a wall she puts up because she feels that's how she has to be. Robbie is a more gentle soul whose essence slowly makes Cecilia let her guard down. There's a scene where she gets out of a deep fountain, soaked head to toe (Having submerged under to retrieve an important item) and the way he looks at her, it's as though he's saying “Breath. It's ok. Breathe. I see you.”

Cecilia comes from a very wealthy family and Robbie is the son of the family's most loyal servant, Grace (Brenda Blethyn). It's safe to assume that Robbie and Cecilia have known each other their whole lives and developing a deeper feeling for someone you've known since birth must be absolutely indescribable. Fortunately for them, they are good people who are good together. Unfortunately for them, Briony thinks differently.

Robbie and Cecilia are in their early twenties while Briony is only thirteen. Some audiences will conclude that Briony’s young age makes her supposed misinterpretations fair and in turn, the lie is not her fault. The look in her eyes suggests something altogether different. Let's look at all the facts: Briony’s father travels constantly for work, her mother doesn't pay much attention to her, nor does Cecilia. It's summer, excruciatingly hot out, she's bored and has a childish crush on Robbie whom she sees with Cecilia. The moment she starts making trouble, people start paying attention to her. The lie begins late at night and by early in the morning, Cecilia, Robbie and Grace’s lives are completely shattered.

The Oscar-winning music speaks to how audiences will feel throughout the film. The moment you start feeling something different, music will be around to express what you cannot. The cinematography is gorgeously divine and at times, exposes massive tragedy. Atonement was one of the most critically acclaimed films of 2007. It's epically romantic, a beautiful period piece. A masterclass film, I would recommend to everyone.

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Apr 14, 2020

Thank you so much for highlighting "Atonement" an absolutely exquisite film and one of my all time favorites.

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