Hermits Rock

Go to content Go to navigation


Atonement is good—James McAvoy is impressive, as are the cinematography and score—but not that good. Like Stranger Than Fiction, it is didactic and self-righteous about the nature of fiction. “In my book I gave them the happiness I prevented in real life,” says Old Briony, now a writer so famous that television producers not only want to interview her, but actually care about the subject of the book she wrote. (Predictably, the film is her novel, which is the story of how, when she was 13, she got her sister’s lover arrested.) I haven’t read McEwan’s novel, and perhaps there are some narrative devices that did not translate well to film, or perhaps McEwan underplayed it more than the film did—the film can’t help but feel overbearing in spite of its sometimes sweet, even poignant story.