Movie: Atonement (2007)
Writer: Ian McEwan (original novel), Christopher Hampton (screenplay)
Fine, we’ll fess up: While watching Atonement, we shamelessly hoped that star-crossed lovers Cecilia Tallis (Keira Knightley) and Robbie Turner (James McAvoy) would reunite and be together again, despite Robbie’s enlisting into the British army for World War II after being wrongly accused of raping Cecilia, by her naïve little sister Briony (Saoirse Ronan), and sent to prison.
So when the lovebirds get another shot of romance in London, where Robbie is stationed before heading off to fight in France, we admittedly applauded. And the sight of an 18-year-old Briony apologizing to Cecilia also made us happy.
Damn novelist Ian McEwan and filmmaker Joe Wright, then, for completely usurping that double satisfaction by revealing that both Cecilia and Robbie actually died during the war, meaning that their reunion and Briony’s reconciliation were merely figments of her now-literary imagination. And people wonder why we’re reluctant to watch costume dramas ever since.