Journal Article

Foregrounding the Media: <i>Atonement</i> (2007) as an Adaptation

Christine Geraghty

in Adaptation

Volume 2, issue 2, pages 91-109
Published in print September 2009 | ISSN: 1755-0637
Published online July 2009 | e-ISSN: 1755-0645 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/adaptation/app006
Foregrounding the Media: Atonement (2007) as an Adaptation

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This article uses Joe Wright's 2007 adaptation of Ian McEwan's novel Atonement to argue that one of the key features of adaptations is the foregrounding of the media. It suggests that this feature is a way of creating a ‘knowing’ audience (as discussed for instance by Hutcheon and Leitch) out of filmgoers who cannot be assumed to have read the original book. The article analyses how Atonement (2007) presents writing, cinema, and television in the three sections of the film and comments on how these media are presented to the audience formally as well as through the complex narrative. It concludes with some comments on the film's ‘happy ending’, suggesting that this foregrounding may, for some viewers, be at the expense of mainstream cinema's traditional investment in emotion.

Keywords: Atonement; adaptation; audience; cinema; melodrama; television

Journal Article.  7806 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Film ; Television ; Literature

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