Briony (Saoirse Ronan) is a teen living in a country estate in England with her older sister, Cecilia (Keira Knightley). Cecilia and the housekeeper's son Robbie (James McAvoy) are schoolmates and seem to have an unspoken attraction. Visiting the estate are young cousins Lola, and her twin brothers. Leon, Briony's older brother brings a schoolmate home, Paul as well. From the window, Briony spies Robbie and Cecilia having a fight by the fountain and finds it peculiar. Robbie tries to apologize to Cecilia by writing a letter, and in his first draft, writes her an explicit and sensual love note. He then writes a new one and gives it to Briony to give to Cecilia, only he doesn't know that he hands her the first draft. Briony reads the letter and is shocked. She then gives it to Cecilia. Later that evening, Cecilia and Robbie have a passionate tryst in the library and are seen by Briony. Later, the twin boys are missing, as the search parties go to the grounds, Briony sees Lola being raped in the dark. Briony pins it on Robbie and shows the sexual letter as proof. He is arrested and sent to prison for four years. After prison, he becomes a soldier in WWII, and in a brief visit back to London, he sees Cecilia again, who professes her love for him all these years. Briony, now a young nurse meets with Cecilia to beg her forgiveness, and sees that Robbie is there with her before his next war assignment. Cut to Briony, now in her old age and a novelist. She has written "Atonement," as a tribute to her sister and Robbie. She reveals that the two were never reunited since both died during the war.
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Best part of story, including ending:
The sweeping war shots were incredible, and the nostalgic setting played a nice part.
Best scene in story:
When Robbie and Cecilia share stolen moments in her London apartment before he gets shipped off to France.
Opinion about the main character:
Briony is a self-absorbed child who wants attention, and her actions create irreversible repercussions.