by Cybele Malinowski in New Film on Wednesday 13 February 2008

Adapted from Ian McEwan’s best selling novel, Atonement is a softly perfumed story of love, passion and jealousy bound within youth. Novice writer, 13-year-old Briony Tallis, fueled by the jealousy of her older sister Cecilia (Keira Knightly) and her lover Robbie’s (James McAvoy) igniting romance, accuses Robbie of a crime he did not commit, leading to his incarceration. This malicious and childish accusation irrevocably changes all their lives forever. Apparently Keira Knightly was originally approached to play the young Briony, though she was eager to play the older sister Cecila, a twist in casting that worked wonders. Knightly’s performance was one of her finest, and it made way for the casting of young actress, Saoirse Ronan, who injected the movie with a hauntingly accurate portrayal of a
young girl’s fears and misconceptions of the adult world. The best period adaptation since BBC’s Pride and Prejudice, this movie comes with a contemporary sophistication.