Atonement 2007

Critics score:
83 / 100

Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes

Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune: Now and then you find a period picture that affords this sort of rightness of scale and satisfaction. Read more

Moira MacDonald, Seattle Times: On paper and on screen, Atonement is a story of rare beauty, both wrenching and wise. Read more

David Edelstein, New York Magazine/Vulture: The film is absorbing and evocative. Read more

Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal: As good a film as one could imagine having been made from a great work of contemporary fiction. Read more

Keith Phipps, AV Club: With the Ian McEwan novel adaptation Atonement, it's obvious that Joe Wright -- who made his big-screen debut with 2005's deft, affecting version of Pride & Prejudice -- knows how to shepherd a novel to the screen. Read more

Bill Goodykoontz, Arizona Republic: Part highbrow British drawing-room drama, part gritty war film, all entertainment almost all the time, Atonement is a masterful study of both the hurtful and redemptive effects of imagination. Read more

Ty Burr, Boston Globe: 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 with a lucid and painful sigh. Read more

Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times: These performers not only have the looks for a sweeping love story, they also have the skill to throw themselves into the proceedings like they really mean it. Read more

J. R. Jones, Chicago Reader: Screenwriter Christopher Hampton and director Joe Wright have smartly dramatized the book's wartime romance and tragedy. Read more

Eric Harrison, Houston Chronicle: It is mindful art doubling as unapologetic entertainment, an ode to eros and errors assembled with vision and meticulous care. Read more

Peter Rainer, Christian Science Monitor: Given the difficulties in transferring Ian McEwan's trickily structured 2001 novel Atonement to the screen, director Joe Wright and screenwriter Christopher Hampton have done a commendable job. Commendable but not electrifying. Read more

Lisa Kennedy, Denver Post: Craft is everywhere in the film, in many touches that make it elegantly forceful. Read more

Tom Long, Detroit News: This is a film that might have contained itself better, but it still stings with bitter truth. Read more

Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly: [This] movie is abundantly attractive, every scene serenely composed, and every character so fair in love and war that, when the lights come up, it's too easy to say, ''That was good and sad and romantic and classy, now what's for dinner?'' Read more

Chris Vognar, Dallas Morning News: Atonement does what a tragic romance is supposed to do. Read more

Amy Nicholson, I.E. Weekly: Sweeping, showy, and stiff, Joe Wright's adaptation of Ian McEwan's pedigreed bestseller traffics in florid staging and callow emotions. Read more

Christy Lemire, Associated Press: It's just exceptionally well-crafted. Read more

Bruce Newman, San Jose Mercury News: In its first 45 minutes, Atonement achieves a kind of perfection rare even for big Oscar-bait movies. Every facet of the filmmaking is the equal of any picture released this year. The rest of the movie isn't so bad. Read more

Kenneth Turan, Newsday: One of the few adaptations that gives a novel the film it deserves. Read more

David Ansen, Newsweek: No two-hour film could ever capture all the riches of McEwan's masterly novel. But Wright and Hampton's Atonement comes tantalizingly close, while adding sensual delights all its own. Read more

Anthony Lane, New Yorker: I hardly believed a word of it. Read more

Stephen Whitty, Newark Star-Ledger: A gripping film. Read more

Bob Mondello, Joe Wright directs Atonement with an eye to framing each performance with spectacularly vivid images, including a genuinely breathtaking tracking shot on the bloody, wreckage-strewn beach at Dunkirk. Read more

Jack Mathews, New York Daily News: It is an amazing story, filled with quiet moments of profundity and more surprises than you could imagine. Read more

Lou Lumenick, New York Post: Director Joe Wright and screenwriter Christopher Hampton not only blow the Merchant-Ivory dust off the British period movie, they transform Ian McEwan's interior novel into a sweeping epic that speaks to the 21st-century soul. Read more

Rex Reed, New York Observer: Atonement is everything a true lover of literature and movies could possibly hope for. It is unquestionably, without any reservations, my favorite film of the year. Read more

Andrew Sarris, New York Observer: One of the most successful adaptations of a distinguished novel I have ever seen. Read more

Roger Moore, Orlando Sentinel: A film that instantly joins the ranks of the great screen romances. Read more

Carrie Rickey, Philadelphia Inquirer: An impeccable craftsman in the tradition of David Lean, Wright possesses the late director's considerable gifts for drawing out his actors. Read more

James Berardinelli, ReelViews: The film is gorgeous to look at, well paced (especially during the first half), and by turns touching and sad. The ending packs an emotional punch, which is what one would expect from any movie developed from a McEwan novel. Read more

Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times: This is one of the year's best films, a certain best picture nominee. Read more

Stephanie Zacharek, Wright has made a film that honors the imaginative responsibility of an adapter. Read more

Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle: Atonement takes a familiar movie environment, a setting that we think we know, and uses it for an examination of a host of dark impulses, such as jealousy, lust, cruelty and deceit. Read more

Minneapolis Star Tribune: Christopher Hampton's screenplay respects the literary focus of Ian McEwan's novel without falling into the trap of becoming uncinematic. Read more

Globe and Mail: There's much to admire about this adaptation of the Ian McEwan novel, enough that its occasional faltering can be easily forgiven. Read more

Geoff Pevere, Toronto Star: Atonement is not only too polite but maddeningly orderly, resulting in a prettily cast, professionally performed, impeccably mounted bore. Read more

Dave Calhoun, Time Out: A noble, well-made, superbly performed and photographed (by Seamus McGarvey) semi-failure. Read more

David Fear, Time Out: Atonement's extraordinary qualities outweigh any quibbles. Read more

Christopher Orr, The New Republic: Atonement is a film out of balance, nimble enough in its first half but oddly scattered and ungainly once it leaves the grounds of the Tallis estate. Read more

Claudia Puig, USA Today: The arc and resolution don't feel nearly as absorbing and devastating as McEwan's masterful novel. Read more

Derek Elley, Variety: Rarely has a book sprung so vividly to life, but also worked so enthrallingly in pure movie terms. Read more

Ella Taylor, Village Voice: Where McEwan whispers, Wright shouts. Read more

Ann Hornaday, Washington Post: In the almost spookily capable hands of 34-year-old director Joe Wright, the film version of Atonement has achieved that to which every literary adaptation should aspire. Read more