Joe Wright, the BAFTA Award-winning director of “Pride & Prejudice,” has reunited with his filmmaking team and his Academy Award-nominated actress, Keira Knightley, for another classic British romance, starring James McAvoy (BAFTA Award nominee for “The Last King of Scotland”) opposite Ms. Knightley. Christopher Hampton (Academy Award winner for “Dangerous Liaisons”) has written the screenplay adaptation of Ian McEwan’s best-selling 2002 novel Atonement. Shot on location in the U.K., the film’s story spans several decades. In 1935, 13-year-old fledgling writer Briony Tallis (Saoirse Ronan) and her family live a life of wealth and privilege in their enormous mansion. On the warmest day of the year, the country estate takes on an unsettling hothouse atmosphere, stoking Briony’s vivid imagination. Robbie Turner (Mr. McAvoy), the educated son of the family’s housekeeper, carries a torch for Briony’s headstrong older sister Cecilia (Ms. Knightley). Cecilia, he hopes, has comparable feelings; all it will take is one spark for this relationship to combust. When it does, Briony — who has a crush on Robbie — is compelled to interfere, going so far as accusing Robbie of a crime he did not commit. Cecilia and Robbie declare their love for each other, but he is arrested — and with Briony bearing false witness, the course of three lives is changed forever. Briony continues to seek forgiveness for her childhood misdeed. Through a terrible and courageous act of imagination, she finds the path to her uncertain atonement, and to an understanding of the power of enduring love.
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September 6, 2019