Sunday, March 2, 2008

Atonement: The Movie

-- by Miranda

Last night Mom and I went and saw Atonement. I'll go ahead and give you my mom's opinion first. She thought the movie was better than the book, but then, she didn't really like the book much. She thought it was a good movie.

I loved the book, and I loved the movie. I don't know if you could say that it was better than the book. Movies are rarely better than the book. But I think reading the book and seeing the movie compliment each other.

**Warning: from here out there are spoilers.**

Reading the book you obviously get more backround information on all the characters. In the movie, Cecelia and Briony's father is only mentioned twice, in a throwaway line when Leon returns home and when Cee and Robbie are talking about his schooling. They could have very well left out these lines and the father would have been forgotten all together. He really has very little impact on the story anyway. Their mother has a smaller role in the movie than she does in the book, but I didn't really expect the movie to focus on Emily Tallis's migraines. Oh, and if you were curious, apparently the British pronounce it "Mee- graines."

Now, I think the casting was great. Saoirse Ronan was great as young Briony, but I think more credit should be given to Juno Temple who plays Lola. It's not an easy role to play, but she does well with it.

The end of the movie is different from the book, in that instead of a birthday party, Briony is being interviewed about the release of her 21st novel, Atonement. It makes me wonder if in the movie universe, Paul and Lola have already died, leaving Briony free and clear to release her libelous book. Maybe that's just my wishful thinking, I hated seeing those two so happy and carefree at the end of the book. I still feel that they are the true villans. Briony may have lied, but they just stood by and watched an innocent man go to prison. Briony at least had the decency to feel guilty about her accusations.

Some things about the movie that I felt were better than the book: The movie makes it clear that Robbie's war buddy knew Robbie was dying. Looking back, I think "Of course! How could he not know the man was dying?" And I'll just say that the scene depicting Cecilia's death was much more emotional for me than it was in the book. I was in tears in the theater.

Anyway, those are my thoughts on the movie. I told myself that I wasn't going to be buying anymore dvds, but I'm going to break that promise to myself and buy it when it comes out in a few weeks.
Lastly, Cecilia's green dress was just as gorgeous as depicted in the book. Fantastic.


Abby-Wan Kenobi said...

I can't believe I let the whole weekend pass without seeing this. Stupid boyfriends wanting to see bloody movies by the Coen brothers.

P.S. No Country for Old Men is amazing. See heartwarming stories.

miranda. said...

No Country for Old Men is playing at the Mar this week, and I was going to tell my dad to take my mom (my dad really wants to see it, mostly because he really likes the title). But my dad had a fishing club meeting last night so me & mom had a girls night instead. If we hadn't seen Atonement we might have seen The Other Boleyn Girl, so we both would have watched Natalie Portman period movies.

Abby-Wan Kenobi said...

So I went and saw this with VanMeter on Sunday night. I know. I'm sad.

Green Dress- Amazing.

I think the interview thing at the end was a good way to deal with the twist at the end. If she couldn't publish it would be really hard to explain the real truth. It would have been good to see old Lola and Paul though.

You should've seen VanMeter. She was so upset. She whispering threats to me like "If Robbie dies I am walking out of this theater and leaving you here." She drove. It was dicey.

miranda. said...

There was a woman in my theater who gasped- loudly- when Robbie died. She probably would have gasped at Cecilia's death too, but I'm not sure she had exhaled yet.

I re-read the last chapter of Atonement when I got home, and it doesn't say anything about Cecilia drowning, but I think it was very effective in the movie. Underwater shots were sort of a motif throughout the movie, and that final one was chilling.

Patrick Roberts said...

Atonement looked and felt a lot like Pride and Prejudice, impeccable setting, acting and dialogue. A bit depressing toward the end, but over all very well done.

i wonder: Is Briony's vocabulary typical for British 13 year olds?

miranda. said...

In the book a good amount of time is spent describing Briony's precociousness when it comes to writing and language in general.

Also- Pride and Predjudice and Atonement both had the same director, which explains the similarities in tone.