Keira Knightley and James McAvoy in "Atonement," directed by Joe Wright © Focus Features
Here, we have some page-to-screen veterans: director Joe Wright (“Pride & Prejudice,” “Anna Karenina”); his preferred (despite our two cents) literary it-girl, Keira Knightley; and the illustrious Ian McEwan, whose nationally acclaimed Atonement is only one of the many works the author has seen translated to the silver screen. (Most recently, according to The Wall Street Journal, Working Title Films acquired the rights to his latest, Sweet Tooth.)
A quick synopsis of the film: Rich-girl Cecilia Tallis (Knightley) has fallen in love with Robbie Turner (James McAvoy), the son of one of her family’s servants. Cecilia’s precocious younger sister, Briony (Saoirse Ronan), observes — and misinterprets — their courtship and irrevocably changes the course of all three lives when she accuses her sister’s lover of a crime he did not commit.
The sweeping narrative, artfully shot, takes an effectual look at the depth and enduring power of humanity and heartbreak. To quote Rolling Stone, “Where Atonement is concerned, the only sin would be to miss it.”
The 2007 film, directed by Joe Wright, stars Keira Knightley, James McAvoy, Brenda Blethyn, Vanessa Redgrave, and Romola Garai. It won an Academy Award for Best Original Score.