• 15
  • Joe Wright (2007)
  • UK (SUB)
  • 117 min
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Film Review
Reviewed By
5 out of 5

The kind of collaboration that seems designed to produce the perfect British film, this adaptation of Ian McEwan's bestseller from screenwriter Christopher Hampton (Dangerous Liaisons) and director Joe Wright (Pride & Prejudice) actually pulls it off. Beginning in 1935, the drama pivots on the burgeoning love affair between privileged Cecilia Tallis (Keira Knightley) and servant's son Robbie Turner (James McAvoy). An intercepted love letter, sibling jealousy and an assault combine to tear them apart. Their hopes of reunion are further complicated by the outbreak of war, Robbie's conscription and the 1940 evacuation of Dunkirk - stunningly staged here by Wright. A handsome, heart-thumping, character-based love story, this is impeccably acted - Keira Knightley truly comes of age, blending cut-glass, Celia Johnson-like refinement and something altogether more passionate - and stylishly scored (by Dario Marianelli). Atonement transcends the expectations of its country-house setting, via the privations of war, to deliver a knockout twist that works better on the screen than it did on the page.

Plot Summary

Period romantic drama starring Keira Knightley, James McAvoy and Romola Garai. At a magnificent country house in 1935, sisters Cecilia and Briony Tallis clash over Cecilia's affair with servant's son Robbie Turner, leading to a life-changing flashpoint that cruelly splits up the young lovers. As Turner goes to war, eventually finding himself stranded on Dunkirk beach, Cecilia must live in hope that one day they will be reunited.

Cast and crew


Cecilia Tallis
Keira Knightley
Robbie Turner
James McAvoy
Briony, aged 18
Romola Garai
Grace Turner
Brenda Blethyn
Leon Tallis
Patrick Kennedy
Briony, aged 13
Saoirse Ronan
Paul Marshall
Benedict Cumberbatch
Lola Quincey
Juno Temple
Older Briony
Vanessa Redgrave
Emily Tallis
Harriet Walter
Sister Drummond
Gina McKee


Joe Wright

Other Information

English, French +subtitles
Theatrical distributor: 
Violence, swearing, sex scenes.
Available on DVD and BluRay
Released 7 Sep 2007
Certificate 15
Universal Pictures (UK) Ltd