6.3/10
12,525
174 user 97 critic

Possession (2002)

PG-13 | | Drama, Mystery, Romance | 30 August 2002 (USA)
Trailer
1:46 | Trailer
A pair of literary sleuths unearth the amorous secret of two Victorian poets only to find themselves falling under a passionate spell.

Director:

Neil LaBute

Writers:

A.S. Byatt (novel), David Henry Hwang (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
1 nomination. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Comedy | Drama | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

A former pop star who now writes commercial jingles for a living, experiences a mid-life crisis.

Director: Jake Paltrow
Stars: Martin Freeman, Gwyneth Paltrow, Penélope Cruz
Bounce (2000)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

A man switches plane tickets with another man who dies in that plane in a crash. The man falls in love with the deceased one's wife.

Director: Don Roos
Stars: Ben Affleck, Gwyneth Paltrow, Natasha Henstridge
Possession I (2009)
Drama | Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

A woman's life is thrown into chaos after a freak car accident sends her husband and brother-in-law into comas. Thrills arrive after the brother-in-law wakes up, thinking he's his brother.

Directors: Joel Bergvall, Simon Sandquist
Stars: Sarah Michelle Gellar, Lee Pace, Michael Landes
Sylvia (2003)
Biography | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Story of the relationship between poets Edward James "Ted" Hughes (Daniel Craig) and Sylvia Plath (Gwyneth Paltrow).

Director: Christine Jeffs
Stars: Gwyneth Paltrow, Daniel Craig, Lucy Davenport
Proof (2005)
Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

The daughter of a brilliant but mentally disturbed mathematician, recently deceased, tries to come to grips with her possible inheritance: his insanity. Complicating matters are one of her father's ex-students, who wants to search through his papers, and her estranged sister, who shows up to help settle his affairs.

Director: John Madden
Stars: Gwyneth Paltrow, Anthony Hopkins, Hope Davis
Sliding Doors (1998)
Comedy | Drama | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A London woman's love life and career both hinge, unknown to her, on whether or not she catches a train. We see it both ways, in parallel.

Director: Peter Howitt
Stars: Gwyneth Paltrow, John Hannah, John Lynch
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Unhappy couples fall apart and hop into other beds with other people.

Director: Neil LaBute
Stars: Amy Brenneman, Aaron Eckhart, Ben Stiller
Emma (1996)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

While matchmaking for friends and neighbours, a young 19th Century Englishwoman nearly misses her own chance at love.

Director: Douglas McGrath
Stars: Gwyneth Paltrow, James Cosmo, Greta Scacchi
Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

A rising country-music songwriter works with a fallen star to work their way to fame, causing romantic complications along the way.

Director: Shana Feste
Stars: Garrett Hedlund, Gwyneth Paltrow, Leighton Meester
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

A wealthy Wall Street speculator discovers that his wife has a lover. He investigates him and uses the carrot and stick to make him murder his wife. Planned to detail, it seems like a perfect murder.

Director: Andrew Davis
Stars: Michael Douglas, Gwyneth Paltrow, Viggo Mortensen
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Two business executives--one an avowed misogynist, the other recently emotionally wounded by his love interest--set out to exact revenge on the female gender by seeking out the most innocent, uncorrupted girl they can find and ruining her life.

Director: Neil LaBute
Stars: Aaron Eckhart, Matt Malloy, Stacy Edwards
Hush (1998)
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  

A couple with jobs and apartment in NYC, decide to move to his mom's farm, get married and have the baby there. They can also make the changes to get a better price for the farm. However, there's something seriously wrong with his mom.

Director: Jonathan Darby
Stars: Jessica Lange, Gwyneth Paltrow, Johnathon Schaech
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Gwyneth Paltrow ... Maud Bailey
Aaron Eckhart ... Roland Michell
Jeremy Northam ... Randolph Henry Ash
Jennifer Ehle ... Christabel LaMotte
Lena Headey ... Blanche Glover
Holly Aird ... Ellen Ash
Toby Stephens ... Fergus Wolfe
Trevor Eve ... Cropper
Tom Hickey Tom Hickey ... Blackadder
Georgia Mackenzie ... Paola
Tom Hollander ... Euan
Graham Crowden ... Sir George
Anna Massey ... Lady Bailey
Craig Crosbie Craig Crosbie ... Hildebrand
Christopher Good ... Crabb-Robinson
Edit

Storyline

Roland Michell is an American scholar trying to make it in the difficult world of British Academia. He has yet to break out from under his mentor's shadow until he finds a pair of love letters that once belonged to one of his idols, a famous Victorian poet. Michell, after some sleuthing, narrows down the suspects to a woman not his wife, another well known Victorian poet. Roland enlists the aid of a Dr. Maud Bailey, an expert on the life of the woman in question. Together they piece together the story of a forbidden love affair, and discover one of their own. They also find themselves in a battle to hold on to their discovery before it falls into the hands of their rival, Fergus Wolfe. Written by C.D.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The past will connect them. The passion will possess them.

Genres:

Drama | Mystery | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for sexuality and some thematic elements | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA | UK

Language:

English | French

Release Date:

30 August 2002 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Possession See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$25,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$1,575,214, 18 August 2002

Gross USA:

$10,113,733

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$14,815,898
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Feature film debut of Henry Ian Cusick. See more »

Goofs

Everyone was handling rare, old documents with their bare hands. Anyone doing this kind of research would know to wear gloves to protect the fragile paper. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Randolph Ash: They say that women change. 'Tis so, but you are ever-constant in your changefulness. Like that still thread of falling river, one from source to last embrace, in the still pool ever-renewed and ever-moving on, from first to last, a myriad water-drops.
See more »

Connections

References The French Lieutenant's Woman (1981) See more »

Soundtracks

Possesso
Performed by Ramón Vargas
Conducted by Gabriel Yared
Music by Gabriel Yared
Original lyrics by Peter Gosling
Italian translation: Michela Antonello
Orchestra leader: Cathy Thompson
Produced by Gabriel Yared and Graham Walker
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

unusual and intriguing romantic drama
24 August 2002 | by Buddy-51See all my reviews

`Possession' has all the intricacy, mystery and suspense of a classic piece of detective fiction. What sets this film apart, however, is that the object of the mystery does not involve a dead body, a piece of stolen treasure or a missing person, but rather the hitherto secret love affair between two well-known 19th Century English poets. The clues come in the form of journal entries, love letters and snippets of enigmatic poetry that, when pieced together, afford a glimpse into the inner yearnings of these two young, but essentially unrequited lovers.

As a narrative, `Possession' runs on two parallel tracks, one set in modern times (that's where the detective story aspect comes in) and the other set in 1859, as we learn the details of the romance that took place between the writers. In the contemporary plot strand, Aaron Eckhart stars as Roland Michell, a handsome young American research assistant who has come to England to study the work of famed poet Randolph Henry Ash, a writer with a certain misogynistic strain who nevertheless enjoys the rather unique reputation among poets of having been utterly faithful to his wife. As the story begins, Ash has become something of a cause celebre within British literary circles because the year 2000 happens to mark the centenary of the discovery of his work. While poring over a first edition copy of one of Ash's volumes, Roland stumbles across some original letters of Ash's that hint at the possibility that Ash, contrary to the public impression of his marital fidelity, may actually have had an affair with another famed poet of the time, a Miss Christabel La Motte, a woman believed by her biographers to have been a lesbian. Confronted with this startling, revolutionary and, perhaps, priceless piece of information, Roland sets out to unravel the mystery, accompanied by Maud Bailey (Gwyneth Paltrow), an expert on the life and work of Miss LaMotte (and a distant descendant of that famed poet in the bargain).

`Possession' earns points automatically simply by providing us with a unique storyline and a fascinating glimpse into a world we have rarely if ever seen portrayed on screen - the world of literary investigation. We are fascinated by all the behind-the-scene details showing not merely the investigative footwork that goes into unearthing the biographical details of a writer's life, but also the sometimes-cutthroat nature that propels rival investigators to both make and publish their discoveries, even if that means utilizing tactics that can be described as, at best, unethical, and, at worst, illegal.

But `Possession' offers more than just that. It also manages to provide not merely one, but two complex romances occurring at the same time (though a full century apart in the context of the story). Randolph and Christabel are both products - and victims - of their Victorian Era morality, yet at the same time, their struggles are universal in nature and neatly correspond to those experienced by Roland and Maud, who literally follow in the footsteps of the earlier couple. As our modern day investigators travel the same route through England that Randolph and Christabel took a century previous, Roland and Maud reveal much about their own inability to make commitments in the face of possible true love. As they tentatively grope towards one another, then back away out of fear of pain and rejection, Roland and Maud define, in many ways, the métier of modern romantic coupling. Yet, we discover, through Randolph and Christabel, that life in the past really wasn't much different from what it is today.

Based on the novel by A.S. Byatt, the David Henry Hwang/Laura Jones/Neil LaBute screenplay provides highly charged scenes between our two romantic couples, particular those involving Roland and Maud. The dialogue in these encounters is often sharp, intelligent, incisive. The romantic moments between Raymond and Christabel have a slightly more conventional feel to them, but they, too, often ring true in a way that is both deeply moving and strangely exciting. Director LaBute has drawn wonderful performances out of his quartet of first-rate actors. Aaron Eckhart as Roland and Jennifer Ehle as Christabel are particularly effective in their roles.

It's refreshing to see a romantic drama that manages to generate some actual chemistry between its two on-screen lovers. In the case of `Possession,' our pleasure is thereby doubled, since the film accomplishes this with not merely one couple but two. `Possession' may not provide the blood, gore, corpses and hair-raising thrills one usually associates with detective fiction, but its devotion to the drama found in words, poetry, language and romance makes for no less an engrossing experience.


67 of 74 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 174 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Free Movies and TV Shows You Can Watch Now

On IMDb TV, you can catch Hollywood hits and popular TV series at no cost. Select any poster below to play the movie, totally free!

Browse free movies and TV series



Recently Viewed