Their Future is Written in the Past Possession: Let Love Take Hold of You
Roland Michell (Aaron Eckhart) is an American literature student studying in England, ridiculed by his British peers who perceive the Yankee as academically inferior. The opposite is true however, and he is determined to prove it.
Roland Michell (Aaron Eckhart) is an American literature student studying in England, ridiculed by his British peers who perceive the Yankee as academically inferior. The opposite is true however, and he is determined to prove it. Michell has conducted years of research regarding Randolph Henry Ash (Jeremy Northam), a fictional Victorian era poet. He's recently discovered a racy love letter from the author in the university's dusty archives, and has a hunch who the recipient was.
Michell believes that Ash was writing to a fictitious poet named Christabel LaMotte (Jennifer Ehle), a woman historians recognize as a pioneering figure in feminism. Historians also generally agree that LaMotte was a lesbian, evidenced by her lifelong partnership with Blanche Glover (Lena Headey). If Roland's assumptions are true the narrative of LaMotte's life could be quite different, one in which the poet is a lover of men and not necessarily the rigid feminist academics have typified her as.
To confirm his suspicions Roland contacts the university's authority on LaMotte, who also happens to be the poet's niece, thrice removed: Maud Bailey (Gwyneth Paltrow). Maud believes that Roland's assumption is propitious, but agrees to visit her childhood stomping grounds and search LaMotte's abandoned mansion for clues. They discover a cache of love letters inside, that confirms Michell's theory, and leads both academics down a long road of investigation.
That is where Maud and Roland's own lives begin to mimic their esteemed poets'. The stern students agree from the onset that their relationship is strictly research related, though the parallels between their lives and their subjects' overwhelms them. Soon they enter LaMotte and Ash's world, reliving their sweet words letter by letter. When word of the letters spreads throughout the English department, other students begin an attempt to usurp Michell and Bailey's research, leaving little time for romantic leisure.
Possession is based upon the identically titled Booker Award winning novel by author A. S. Byatt.
Duration: 102 minutes
Genre: Romance, Drama, Mystery
Director: Neil LaBute
Rating: Rated PG-13 for sexuality and some thematic elements.