Happy Valentine’s Day to all the lovers (of cocktails and movies!) out there. This week, I’m honoring one of the great love affairs in cinema history: the one that exists between the infamous Jacqueline Durran-designed Green Dress, and my eyeballs. Grab the tissues and the chocolate bars for this week’s film Atonement (Disc/Download).
Based on the novel by Ian McEwan, Joe Wright’s adaptation is every bit as gorgeous as the source material. This story of young lovers separated by class difference and a fatal lie is gripping, haunting, and always leaves me feeling like I got hit by a truck. But the clothes- THE CLOTHES. I keep coming back to see Keira Knightley swan around like she’s on the cover of a 1930s issue of Vogue, in everything from evening gowns to slips to swimwear. Honestly, the saddest part of this movie isn’t the ending; it’s watching Cecilia trade her couture for a WWII British nurse’s uniform (although, I do enjoy a good wool cape). The cast of this film is a who’s who of British talent, such as James McAvoy, Juno Temple, Brenda Blethyn, Vanessa Redgrave, and Benedict Cumberbatch, but it’s a young Saoirse Ronan who really steals the show as imaginative, manipulative Briony. Such a devious villain in such innocent packaging! In the end, this entire story is Briony’s attempt at atonement, and the audience is left to decide whether she’s finally paid for the sin of being a fanciful, jealous girl. Perhaps, having the same boring haircut for sixty years is the real punishment.
As I mentioned earlier, chocolate plays a hefty supporting roll in this film. Benedict Cumberbatch’s character owns a chocolate factory, and he is more than happy to make everyone his signature sipper, the “Choc-tail”, which is described as rum and dark chocolate syrup over crushed ice.
However, his character is the creep to end all creeps, and I don’t feel like celebrating this perverted Willy Wonka. So let’s do our own “Choc-tail”, in the form of a Chocolate Rum Old Fashioned.
Chocolate Rum Old Fashioned
1 1/2 oz Dark Rum
1/4 oz Simple Syrup
1 dash of Angostura Bitters
1 dash of Chocolate Bitters
Grated dark chocolate
Combine rum, simple syrup, and bitters in a mixing tin with ice. Stir well, and strain into a glass filled with a large ice cube. Express the grapefruit peel over the drink, then drop in. Grate a dusting of dark chocolate over the top.
If you enjoy Downton Abbey, World War II epics like The English Patient and Dunkirk, and dinner parties where people get very dressed up, then Atonement is the movie for you. Passion, glamour, chocolate, and rum- sounds like a perfect Valentine’s Day to me. Cheers!