Whew! I've just ordered yet another copy of this film for a friend who hasn't yet seen it, and thought I'd glance at the reviews while I was at it...half an hour later, I'm left with such a sense of how very different each one of us truly is, and how differently we view & experience movies! I suppose that we're all looking for different things from them.
I hadn't read the book before seeing this film way back in September '07. I've read it since, and despite the immaculate crafting and writing it leaves me cold like so many of Ian McEwan's novels (I keep trying but...sorry)
That I've seen the film 12 times now probably speaks volumes. I remember when I left the cinema after the first time, I felt raw...I couldn't bear anyone to talk to me for about an hour afterwards as I needed time to 'come down' from the emotion. I saw it 4 times on the big screen in total (this isn't unusual for me...if I love a film, I'll watch it several times to squeeze every drop from it - ergo, I've seen The King's Speech 4 times already!) and I have to be careful about watching it now as it can affect me quite strongly still - I just find the emotions, characters, acting so powerful & moving. I wasn't a fan of Keira Knightley before particularly, but after this, The Edge of Love and The Duchess I cannot wait to see her again. James McAvoy is & will continue to be one of our greatest new acting talents...I see only great things ahead for him. Saoirse Ronan, Romola Garai, Benedict Cumberbatch - their body of work before & since 'Atonement' speaks volumes for them too.
Much has been said and debated in these reviews on the story, the cinematography, the accents, the period details...I'm not going to add to that.
Reviews are so, so personal. None are right or wrong, because they are all someone's opinion (although several have made me quite angry, and how 43 people have only awarded it one star is seriously beyond me!)
For what it's worth, Atonement will always be among my Top 5 Movies of All Time. For it's study of wasted youth, of thwarted love,of misinterpretation and misunderstanding, of a golden time that will never come again...the emotion of the cafe scene alone, nothing said, all encompassed in a rattling teaspoon and a completely naked, desperate look..
If you haven't already, just watch it. On a cold, gloomy day with a cup of something hot and an open mind & heart. If you're disappointed...well then, nothing can help you!