Atonement is a 2007 British drama film directed by Joe Wright and based on the novel of the same name by Ian McEwan. The film stars Keira Knightley James McAvoy Saoirse Ronan and Romola Garai. It was released in the United Kingdom and Ireland on 7 September 2007 and in North America on 14 December 2007.
The film revolves around three central characters: 13-year-old Briony Tallis (Ronan) her older sister Cecilia (Knightley) and their cousin Robbie Turner (McAvoy). Robbie and Cecilia are in love but Briony falsely accuses Robbie of rape an accusation that destroys their relationship and has far-reaching consequences for all three characters.
The film was nominated for seven Academy Awards including Best Picture Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay and won Best Original Score. It also won seven BAFTA Awards including Best Film Best Director and Best Actor (McAvoy).
Atonement is a difficult film to watch. It is rated R for sexual violence language and some nudity. The film opens with a still-frame image of a bloody hand print on a window. This is followed by a brutal rape scene in which Robbie Turner (James McAvoy) is accused of attacking Briony Tallis (Saoirse Ronan). The rape is not shown on-screen but the aftermath is shown in graphic detail.
Briony is a young girl who is trying to make sense of the world around her. She is highly intelligent but also highly naïve. She doesn’t understand the complexities of adult relationships and she doesn’t know how to deal with her own burgeoning sexuality. The rape scene is difficult to watch because it is a graphic portrayal of a young girl’s innocence being savagely destroyed.
The film is also difficult to watch because of the way it handles the subject of rape. The film does not shy away from the brutal realities of rape but it also doesn’t wallow in them. The rape is shown as a brutal act but it is not the only thing that defines the characters. The film also shows the strength of the human spirit and the ability to forgive.
Overall Atonement is a difficult but important film. It is a brutal portrayal of the horrors of rape but it is also a film about hope forgiveness and the resiliency of the human spirit.
Why is the movie “Atonement” rated R?
The movie is rated R for language some sexuality/nudity and violence.