Last night Laura and I saw the movie Atonement. I had read the book years back but the details of the plot were long since forgotten. I am not one of those readers who can call up names of characters, plot lines and the like; I just remember the rough idea and whether or not the book swept me in and held me close. Seeing the movie was mostly all new for me and it was wonderful. This a very sad movie but rendered beautifully. The messages that one's reality is all perception, fraught with the innocence of youth, betrayal, lies and secrets added power to this visually moving film.
Messages aside however, the "green dress" worn by Keira Knightly in her role as Cecilia Talis was the movie to me. Figuring it wasn't just me who was swept away by the symbolism and the beauty of this gown, I confirmed with Laura that she too found this dress riveting. I've since learned that this green dress is a hot topic having been cited on a recent poll from those who follow this sort of movie trivia as a top winner on the list of iconic dresses worn in film (along with the little black dress worn by Audrey Hepburn in "Breakfast at Tiffany's" and the short white dress worn by Marilyn Monroe in "Seven Year Itch").
This unspeakably gorgeous dress stands alone as a separate character in the movie. Its powerful ability to capture passion, seductiveness, wonder, and self confidence laced with a darker side of anger, hurt and the pain of loss is obvious. That Keira wears it so well only adds to the magic of the dress.
This is a backless gown, my absolute favorite. Something about exposing one's back speaks boldly to me about the odd combination of strength and vulnerability. It is a part of our body we cannot see but we know deeply of its fundamental beauty and power.