PossessionDirector: Neil LaBute,
In Neil LaBute's film adaptation of A.S. Byatt's Booker Prize-winning 1990 novel, Aaron Eckhart (who has starred in all of LaBute's films) plays Roland Michell, an American academic researcher, working in London, who discovers some important letters written by a famous Victorian poet, Randolph Henry Ash (Jeremy Northam [Gosford Park]). Ash was presumed to have been totally devoted to his wife, but Roland finds letters written to another unnamed woman, and soon determines that the intended recipient was another, less well-known poet, Christabel LaMotte (Jennifer Ehle of Sunshine). Roland contacts Maud Bailey (Gwyneth Paltrow), an expert on LaMotte's life and work, who tells him that LaMotte couldn't have had an affair with Ash because she lived most of her life with a female companion, Blanche Glover (Lena Headey), in what was apparently a romantic relationship. Despite Maud's skepticism, the two begin to investigate, and uncover a wealth of information about the affair between the two poets. Period scenes of the illicit relationship between Ash and LaMotte are intercut with the contemporary investigation of the two academics. Roland and Maud initially fight their attraction to each other, but as the pair find more evidence of the historical and tragic romance, they find themselves overcoming their own resistance to romantic entanglement. Possession was kicked around as a film project for a long time before LaBute became interested. Director Sydney Pollack originally was slated to film a screenplay by David Henry Hwang (M. Butterfly), who receives a credit on the finished film. When LaBute took over the project years later, he reworked the screenplay with Laura Jones (The Portrait of a Lady).
It's sexy to observe two couples who think and debate their connections, who quote poetry to each other, who consciously try to enhance their relationships by seeking metaphors and symbols they can attach to.
- Release Date:
- Original Release:
- Universal Studios
- Region Code:
- [Wide Screen]
- [Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround]
- Sales rank:
Cast & Crew
|Aaron Eckhart||Roland Mitchell|
|Gwyneth Paltrow||Maud Bailey|
|Jennifer Ehle||Christabel LaMotte|
|Jeremy Northam||Randolph Henry Ash|
|Lena Headey||Blanche Glover|
|Holly Aird||Ellen Ash|
|Graham Crowden||Sir George Bailey|
|Trevor Eve||Morton Cropper|
|Anna Massey||Lady Bailey|
|Len Amato||Executive Producer|
|Luciana Arrighi||Production Designer|
|David Barron||Executive Producer|
|Jenny Beavan||Costumes/Costume Designer|
|David Crozier||Sound/Sound Designer|
|Paul Ghiradani||Art Director|
|David Henry Hwang||Screenwriter|
|Stephen Pevner||Co-producer,Executive Producer|
|Richard Styles||Asst. Director|
|Ian Whittaker||Set Decoration/Design|
|Gabriel Yared||Score Composer|
1. Blackadder's Boys [4:09]
2. The Letters [5:17]
3. The Scholar Investigates [4:17]
4. Maud Bailey [2:20]
5. Blanche's Diary [7:28]
6. Seal Court [2:47]
7. Dolly Hides a Secret [3:10]
8. Creatures of the Pen [5:49]
9. To Stand in a Fire [5:52]
10. A Matter of Life and Death [3:30]
11. Four Weeks in Yorkshire [3:33]
12. The Cave [1:38]
13. The Other Side of Attraction [4:52]
14. Fergus's Fax [13:27]
15. Christabel's Condition [5:11]
16. The Box [8:21]
17. Grave Robbers [4:23]
18. You Have a Daughter [2:10]
19. A Poet Walked Out... [4:53]
20. End Titles [4:06]
Feature Commentary With Director Neil LaBute
English Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
French Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
Feature Commentary With Director Neil LaBute
English Captions for the Hearing Impaired
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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I loved the movie in the theater and think other reviewers were right in that Jennifer Ehle and Jeremy Northam had the more interesting relationship. But, when I bought the DVD, much of their screen time was gone plus other things going on that explain some of the underlying background characters. As I watched the DVD with other people who hadn't read the book, I had to explain what was going on in the relationships because it was difficult to follow after the movie was chopped down so much. DVD's usually tell you about all the extra stuff added but they don't tell you when they take away scenes and make the movie different from what you have seen in the theater.
I loved this movie! Interesting, romantic and entertaining. I will watch it over and over. Some say that the modern characters don't have any sparks, but I don't agree. I think both pairings were good.
Jennifer Ehle and Jeremy Northam have a great history that is uncovered in a fascinating manner. But Gwyneth Paltrow and Aaron Eckhart are a bit stiff.
Relationships between two couples, one current, one nineteenth century, are contrasted in this movie, the point being to show that couples in the past were able to bond with each other and couples in the present cannot. Byatt and the moviemaker are trying to tell us that we have lost something somewhere along the way. An earlier novel and movie, Tears in the Rain, has the same parallel structure and is worth reading/seeing. A current novel, Always, also has two couples, one current, one past, although the past couple in Always are sinister like Kathy and Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights. If you are touched by one, you'll be moved by the others.
I saw this movie in the theatre and loved it. Jeremy Northam and Jennifer Ehle have sparks between them that Gwyneth Paltrow and Aaron Eckhert lack. I loved the two stories that ran parallel to each other as the steps were traced back to Northam & Ehle's characters. A good movie to watch on a rainy afternoon.
As much as I liked her in ''Emma'', I do not like Gwyneth Paltrow in ''Possession''. Also, Jeremy Northam and Jennifer Ehle were the stars of the show, not Paltrow and Eckert! The chemistry between Northam and Ehle was mesmerizing. Paltrow and Eckert did not even have sparks. This is a great movie and I can't wait to get mine delivered.
This movie was journey for more than one couple. Although one ends quite sadly, the other is an inspiration for those who do not think they are capable of finding that one person, that one true love. I could not wait until they found the other letters to see where the story took you. Paltrow and Eckhardt were fabulous together, I could not think of two better people for these roles. I hope that others find this movie to be as exceptional as I did. The music selection added the perfect touch to some of the intense scenes.