A few years ago, my Asheville book group read Ian McEwan's Atonement at the suggestion of Edgy Mama. I only read it that one time, but it is one of those stories that I just couldn't forget. I was curious how it would be adapted to the big screen, and recently was able to see for myself how this was done.
The story is about a writer's search for atonement after a fiction she creates in 1935 as a 13 year old girl. This fiction destroys lives around her. Does she have the courage to atone for this terrible thing she has done? Will others be able to overcome the harm done to them by her actions?
The movie itself is beautifully and wonderfully done. The acting is superb. I have been a huge Keira Knightly fan for years. I wrote off James McAvoy as that deer type creature in Chronicles of Narnia -boy was I wrong. He brought me to tears several times in the movie. And the different incarnations of Briony (the 13 year old at the beginning of the movie) - each of the actresses were brilliant. Her self-righteous attitude and rigidity were matched in the posture and facial expressions of the actresses. The score matched the acting (with staccato typing throughout) in a perfect manner. Much has been written about the large war scene on the French shores. The intermixing of the story from small British countryside to a large scale international scene was quite moving.
This movie deserved the Best Picture Golden Globe in won last night. It is an interesting and thought-provoking story. The characters feel so real and immediate. It is a story that stays with someone. I was so uncertain this story could be brought to the big screen in a manner consistent with this wonderful book, but it was done. Definitely one of the best pictures (if not the best) of the year. My grade - A