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Atonement Case Study (2007)

Rob Miller | Tuesday September 27, 2011

Categories: A Level, Eduqas (WJEC) A Level, WJEC A2, WJEC A2 Media Studies, WJEC AS, WJEC AS Media Studies, Film, Costume Melodrama, Romance, War


  • Director – Joe Wright (Pride and Prejudice): experience of big budgets, high production values and of the genre Costume Melodrama. Novel written by Ian McKewan (critically successful author)
  • Genre Costume Melodrama – critically and commercially successful (‘safe’ genre). Arguably Atonement is a hybrid genre – Romance/War Film (built sets, contextual background). Gosford Park, Room with a View
  • Produced and Distributed by Working Title (UK) and Universal Studios (US) – BFI category 3 (UK/US collaboration). Reflects ‘patterns’ relating to British film over a 20 year period (commercial success).

Institutional Factors

  • Target Audience – mass audiences (mainstream text), popular with American audiences (English cultural heritage e.g. social class, location). Older female target audience – C1, C2, D, Mainstreamers and Aspirers
  • Production Values – star marketing, set design, costumes, multi location shooting, multiple camera angles/shots, SFX, CGI, Working Title / Universal production
  • Distribution – Wide distribution (Universal Studios)

Working Title / Universal Films

  • Smoking Aces – 2006
  • Bridget Jones’ Diary – 2002
  • Edge of Reason - 2004
  • Notting Hill – 1999
  • Love Actually – 2003
  • Definitely Maybe – 2007
  • Wimbledon – 2004
  • Four Weddings and a Funeral – 1994
  • About a Boy – 2002
  • Billy Elliot – 2000
  • Ali G Indahouse – 2003
  • Calcium Kid – 2004
  • Hot Fuzz – 2007

Iconography of Costume Melodrama

Costumes, set design, accents and dialogue, locations, traditional family values, repressed sexuality, cultural heritage

Box Office

£11m (UK Box Office), $51m (US Box Office)

English Cultural Representations

Cultural stereotypes, social class, location shooting (English country homes), classic English iconography including tea drinking, repression, London buses, red post boxes, black cabs…), accents and dialogue, narrative themes, images of Dunkirk (Allied forces) and nationalism

Although a...

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