Movie Review – Possession


Directed by Neil LaBute
available on Hoopla

Roland Michell (Aaron Eckhart) is an American Scholar in London, stuck doing menial research about a Victorian poet, Randolph Henry Ash, for his mentor. While at the library reading one of Ash’s books, he finds two handwritten love letters tucked inside. He proceeds to steal the letters to research their origin. This sends him on an investigation to explore a secret love affair. Along the way, he meets and teams up with Maud Bailey (Gwyneth Paltrow) who is an expert on the poetry of the supposed recipient of the letters, Christabel LaMotte. The two of them uncover a hidden history of the two poets.

The romance of Victorian poetry, the setting of London and the English counrtyside, and the excitement of discovering a hidden love affair that is documented first person by hand make this movie a must see for any believer that snail mail is a necessary means of documenting history. The flashback scenes to Ash and LaMotte are a nice touch and not overused. The narration of the letters and the poetry are perfectly timed and not too drawn out. The relationship between Michell and Bailey is predictible but not shallow – it is fun to watch it unfold, explode, mellow and grow.

Yes, the movie is sweet…and romantic…and predictible. But the story is new and intriguing. If Possession doesn’t entice you to go on ebay in search of a stack of old letters in hopes of finding a new history, I don’t know what will.
IMDB gave it an 6.4 out of 10. I really enojoyed it, so I give it an 8.

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