Parallelism– In the movie we are presented with injustice within an injustice. Robbie is accused and convicted of a sexual assault he did not commit. He is imprisoned and then sent to fight in World War II, which compromises his intentions of attending medical school and slandering his reputation. During his time serving in the war, Robbie must also experience the gross injustice that others suffered as a result of War World II.
Paradox– During her interview, Briony explains that this book is both her first and last book. At first, this seems confusing because she has written over 21 books, but we soon come to realize that she only considers this book, which is an autobiography of her life, as her only true masterpiece.
Foreshadow– Throughout the movie we see events happening from both Briony’s perspective and an ominous third-person perspective. Each time we see it occur from Briony’s perspective it foreshadows the coming events.
Atonement– The act of amending or repenting for wrongdoing. People often look or redeem themselves for their wrongdoing by justifying it with an equal or greater good deed. For example, someone attempting to atone for stealing will confess and return the stolen item to their rightful owner.
The movie is called “atonement” because Briony is attempting to atone for her actions toward Robbie. Robbie was accused and convicted of a sexual assault he did not commit due to the actions of Briony. Her false accusation toward him being the one she saw raping Lola and her taking his letter in the wrong context resulted in Robbie being accused.
Only at the age of 18 does Briony attempt to ratify her actions by training to be a nurse and visiting Robbie and Cecilia. She however misses her opportune moment to redeem herself and decides the only way to truly undo her sin is to provide her sister and Robbie with the happy never-ending they never had in her novel.
The social injustice that occurs in this movie is the imprisonment of Robbie. The chocolate billionaire, Paul Marshall, rapes Lola however to due to economic reputation and Briony the murder is pinned on Robbie.
He is imprisoned and then drafted into World War II where he dies during this last day of service. Because of Briony standing idly by while Robbie is punished and loses any opportunity of him becoming a doctor, Cecilia and Robbie are never able to spend the time they so desired with one another.