Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Atonement


Moving World War II romance of a well-to-do young Englishwoman (Keira Knightley) serving as a nurse and the working-class soldier (James McAvoy) she has loved for years, but from whom she had been separated years before when her kid sister (Saoirse Ronan) wrongly accused him of a crime, an injustice that will haunt the accuser (now played by Romola Garai) ever after. Director Joe Wright, working from Christopher Hampton's adaptation of Ian McEwan's novel, persuasively limns an unusual story of betrayal, steadfast love, forgiveness and redemption with some surprising twists, and with further pluses in the sensitive performances and period detail. A fully clothed nonmarital sexual encounter, an implied encounter between an adult and an underage girl, use of the f-word among soldiers, brief profanity, wartime dead and wounded imagery, and a crude written sexual remark. A-III -- adults. (R) 2007

I saw this movie in the theater courtesy of Reagan, the only person who could love period films more than I do, except I thought he had sworn off WWII movies...oh, wait, that was Holocaust movies. I was very happy when I saw that the composer for this movie won an Oscar. He created this intimate and intriguing motif, probably my favorite part of the movie. Knightley's mouth didn't seem to bother me as much and she looked gorgeous. The plot was wonderfully, painfully twisted and entertaining in that deep artful sort of way. As for the "fully clothed nonmarital sexual enncounter," if I can be insensitive, that's what you get for using a privilege outside it's domain. Perhaps the little girl's jealousy would have thwarted their love anyway, even if they had gotten married before "writing crude sexual remarks" or displaying inappropriate behavior. I think it's an interesting question to ask, how do children interpret sexual images they see before they can really understand what they mean? What do they do with these images and feelings? What about all the ones our children are now bombarded with through the media?

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