“Hey little sister, what have you done?” Billy Idol, “White Wedding”
So often, the Oscar season’s darling is good but not great as was the case for Chicago and Crash, even last year’s The Departed. Something can win a ton of awards and still not touch us the way Brokeback Mountain did. I had my reservations about Atonement. I generally stay away from chick flicks, even those with accents and period costumes. I have yet to decide what I really think of Keira Knightly. She’s been cute as Orlando Bloom’s better half in the Pirates trilogy but is she ready to be considered an accomplished actress? Along with the rest of my inner circle, I wondered if I really wanted to sit through another military storyline.
Atonement delivered. It’s a heady mix of flashback and flash forward and the same scene from various viewpoints. Springtime England was never sexier with its lush gardens, fountains, and brooks. Saorse Ronan steals the screen as Briony Tallis, a dreamy, melodramatic preteen writer, both troubled and intrigued by her older sister’s(Knightley) connection to the housekeeper’s son, played earnestly by James McAvoy(equally fabulous in The Last King of Scotland). The war storyline is equally gripping, at times graphic but always moving. Truly a beautiful film.