So, “Atonement” is a love story between 2 souls – Cecilia and Robbie. However, due to naivety and jealousy, Cecilia’s sister, Briony, told a lie about a crime that Robbie did not commit, which caused Robbie to be sent to jail.
Briony had a crush on Robbie. She was 13 when she saw her sister and Robbie had sex in the library. She thought that he was a sex maniac. I guess she doesn’t understand what was going on and she was also partly angry that Robbie chose her sister instead of her. So, later when her cousin was raped, Briony, who was coincidentally the witness, had pointed the finger at Robbie.
Briony grew up to understand the consequences of her lies. She had prevented the happiness that her sister, Cecilia and Robbie had supposedly deserved. She wanted to atone' for her mistakes, her lie, her sin, but it was too late.
The movie is pretty good if you actually struggle through the first hour. After the first hour, towards the end, things become clearer and you’ll understand why the movie is in chunks – flashback here and there. Sometimes, certain scenes are slotted in, and you just have no idea why the scene suddenly appears at the moment.
At the end, you’ll understand that the movie is actually a true story told by Briony Tallis in her final book – Atonement. The last scene sees Briony in an interview, talking about the book.
In the book, she wrote about her regrets of what she had done to her sister and Robbie. The couple didn’t get the happiness that they dreamed of – both died early and separately. Briony basically had lived her whole life in misery because she knew, she caused the pain and the separation of a couple that is in love.
Therefore, in her book, she gave both of them a happy ending - she said - the happiness that they deserved. That’s how she tries to compensate.
Briony's quote from the movie, which I loved so much:
“What sense of hope or satisfaction could the readers derived from an (sad) ending like that? So in the book, I wanted to give Robbie and Cecilia what they lose out on… I like to think this isn’t weakness or evasion…but a fine act of kindness…I gave them their happiness….”
By the end of the movie, you’ll know which part of the movie are fiction, made-believe by the author and the parts that actually happened – the truth. So, it sort of unraveled the “frizzles” I had in my head regarding the storyline.
The few minutes at the end of the movie, during the interview with the old Briony.
The old lady who played Briony is fantastic. Brilliant acting for that part. When she speaks, her blue eyes reflects the sadness and remorse. It’s so expressive that just hearing her talk and say those beautiful words makes one feel her pain.
Yes, she may not be an angel because of what she did, but then again, everyone makes mistakes and everyone had lied before for their own interest. I’ll be the first to raise my hand in admittance that I, too, had told lies due to my own selfishness.
Of course her lie is more serious but she did bear the consequences of living a life so agonizing. The guilt that she felt, I guess was some sort of punishment.
It's sad to live life in such deep regret. I guess, in the end, we just have to stay true to ourselves and not ruin others' happiness for the sake of our own selfishness.
P/S: The ending saved the movie
With LotSa Lurve,