I didn't go see Atonement because of the Oscar buzz, although that helped. If it doesn't win the Oscar for Best Picture, I'll lose all faith in the judgment of the powers that be.
Well, okay, I've probably already lost it, but who's keeping track?
I started to read the book last year and lost interest in it because I was busy and because I find Ian McEwan a little obtuse in his prose sometimes. He is very male in the way he writes, and he was writing from the perspective of a young girl. The movie did for the book what McEwan couldn't. It gave the main character, Briony, a truly female voice.
I can tell you that once the movie started, everyone was silent and intent on the film. There was barely a rattle of a popcorn bag. The movie was visually and emotionally stunning. And while I resisted the urge to grab Kiera Knightly and make her eat a sandwich, I found her performance amazing. I don't know anyone else who could have played the over privileged Cecelia better.
And James McAvoy? I'm a big fan now. He played his role with such bottled-up tension that it spilled into the audience. Is it just me or has Scotland released some very hot men into the entertainment world? McAvoy and fellow Scotsman Gerard Butler ("300", "P.S. - I Love You") are steamy! Smoldering. (and yes...I will freely admit that I loved the Bay City Rollers as a teen).
I think I'll have to try the book again. I really struggled reading "Saturday," also by McEwan, because it is such male prose. I don't know any other way to describe it. I love many of the classic male authors - Steinbeck, Hemingway, Langston Hughes - but McEwan's delivery is very different. It takes time for me to form a bond with his books, and then they take me over. That's the effect they have. I bought "Atonement" because I ended up loving "Saturday." Now I just need to go back and read it. I think I've formed a bond with it simply on the basis of this movie.
It was one of those films that just makes you feel like sitting through the next showing, and the next, and the next. It moved me in the same way as did "Pride and Prejudice" (the Colin Firth version). It shook my reserve in the same as did "Saving Private Ryan." My dad was parachuting into all that mess on D-Day, so the war movies really feel as though they're giving me a glimpse into what Dad saw.
If you need something to do this weekend, definitely go check out this movie. It will be money and time well spent. I dare you not to cry.
Peace - D