I went with 7 other people to see this movie and I was the only one who LOVED it. Yes, there is some violence and there were numerous times when I needed to cover my eyes. Violence doesn't keep me from seeing a film. There was violence in Avatar and The Matrix, but both of those films had powerful messages worth seeing, as does Cloud Atlas.
I have just gotten the book and plan on reading it and I also plan on going to see this film again and may write a more in-depth review after seeing it a second time. This is a long film (almost 3 hours) and the first third of the film leaves one a bit lost, but as the movie continues it all begins to fall into place...so keep that in mind as you watch it. This film is about 'connection'. We are all connected and the choices we make today affect the future....not only ours but others. It is visually beautiful and the actors do an incredible job of playing numerous roles. You will want to sit through the credits to see all the different roles each actor played, because some you won't have recognized.