Yesterday my wife and I watched “Atonement” which is quite a strange movie if you want to take the title verbatim. It has a late 1930s background. It’s about a teenage girl who is constantly writing plays and stories and is shown to be lost in her own world that sometimes segues into the realms of unreality. Amidst these bouts of fantasy she ends up accusing the male protagonist of the of rape of a minor. Despite being the son of a poor cook, he had studied hard and had loaned some money from his mother’s employer so that he could study medicine and become a doctor. He had a bright future ahead of him.
From then onwards the lives of the male and the female protagonists go spiraling downwards. He is jailed, and then sent to France as a British soldier where he is wounded. The female protagonist, totally believing in her lover that he was innocent, leaves her family. She becomes a nurse. After 4-5 years they show that the teenage girl has grown up and she has also become a nurse.
She feels guilty all the time. She wants to meet her sister and apologize. She also wants to apologize to the male protagonist but somehow it never happens. The girl who was actually raped knew who was the real culprit, but somehow, even she never speaks up, and eventually, when she grows up, marries her rapist.
This (who had accused the male protagonist ) girl never even goes to her family to tell the truth. Up till here things look natural. You keep on feeling that something will happen that will justify the name” Atonement”. When things couldn’t get more miserable for her sister and the male protagonist, all of a sudden, the girl is in her late 70s and she is a famous novelist. She has written more than 25 books and the last book she writes about her family’s story and how she accused that person and then what happened. In the film they show that once she goes to her sister’s house, the male protagonist has returned from France and her sister and he are living together. Although they are angry with the girl and they don’t want to have anything to do with her, she profusely apologizes.
In the end, she is being interviewed by a TV journalist about her book and during the book she declares that this is going to be her last book because her mind is degenerating. Then she tells, in a very condescending manner, that although in the book she shows that her sister and the male protagonist end up living together, in reality, the male protagonist died in France itself of septicitis, and her sister died in the flooding of the London tunnel after a major bombing. In her book, “as an act of kindness” she allows them to meet. The movie ends. And suddenly you feel WTF?