Atonement was not my favorite film of the year, but it was definitely one of the most visually fetching. Filmed at the Victorian estate Stokesay Court in Shropshire, Sarah Greenwood's set design and Joe Wright's stylish direction combine for a painterly view of pre-war, English country life, as enjoyed by the new upper class (for the first half of the film, at least).
Amazingly enough, much of the faded, floral, interior is original to the house, which was completed in 1892. Very little of Stokesay Court was changed for the film, including the bedrooms, drawing room, dining room, and servant quarters.
Says Greenwood of the decision to use Stokesay Court, "Initially, I was attracted by the gardens. But, when I got there, I was struck by the interior. I like that dark, gloomy hall at the centre of the house because there is a dark heart to the entire story."
The biggest alteration to Stokesay Court was the removal of a exterior wing in post-production (seen intact in this photo). Ian McEwan's novel called for the family home to be in the fashion of the nouveau-riche, but even Stokesay Court was too ostentatious for the script.
If chintzy, English interiors are your cup of tea, then this is the film to see. Otherwise, Gosford Park remains as my favorite of the genre. The director's commentary on the DVD is especially enlightening.