Cloud Atlantis is a movie that requires you to pay a lot of attention to figure out what is happening. The confusion is compounded by the fact that the five different stories are set in five different eras ranging from post apocalyptic to the future. So suddenly you find yourself in a barren world and then are transported to a futuristic world. In between you visit the 1960s, an America with slaves and two different times in the UK. The only thing common is some kind of comet shaped birthmark that the characters in different eras sport.
Is there some significance to this birthmark? No, so don't break your heads looking for any. Are the stories linked? No they are not. What joins the stories is their underlying theme. Which is about how the actions of one person in one era can impact another in another era. It is also about finding love and believing in its power to save you and to change the world.
As the movie progresses you start getting into each story, so that by the end you are quite absorbed in the lives of the characters.
Would I recommend this movie to you? Well, I must warn you that it will take some time for you to begin understanding the different threads. I have already told you they are not linked so you can just concentrate on each story and enjoy the nuances of the emotions therein. Once you get into each story, Cloud Atlas can be quite a rewarding experience, especially if you like movies with multiple story lines and period dramas. I just wish they would subtitle the English movies too. The accents sometimes are so hard to follow that you end up missing major chunks of the story line.
p.s. on a different note, the ad against smoking which shows how much tar a smokers lung collects was quite good. I am sure, it's going to get some smokers somewhere to reconsider. A good added short to the movie!