Possession...A Review

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Tino, Aug 16, 2002.

  1. Tino

    Tino Executive Producer

    Apr 19, 1999
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    Metro NYC
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    Since the other thread will probably be turned into a discussion thread......[​IMG]
    Neil LaBute's Possession is an extremely entertaining romantic drama. It is a welcome and refreshing change of pace amid the all too typical summer fare.
    Without spoiling any of the film's wonderful moments, Possession is a dual love story and mystery rolled into one. The great thing is that both love stories and the mystery work without feeling contrived or familiar. I especially liked the juxtaposition between the two love stories and how they interacted. The film moves at a leisurely pace to be sure, but is never dull or plodding. Each scene flowed nicely into the next and I found myself completely wrapped up in the stories the film was telling. It was smart, engrossing and completely entertaining.
    The performances were all very good, especially Aaron Eckhart as Roland Mitchell, Gwyneth Paltrow as Maud Bailey, Jeremy Northam as Randolph Henry Ash, and Jennifer Ehle as Christabel LaMotte, very convincing as a Victorian-era female. The chemistry between both couples was completely believable.
    I am not too familiar with Mr. LaBute's earlier works, only having seen Nurse Betty which I enjoyed very much. But having heard much about Your Friends And Neighbors and In The Company Of Men, it seems as though Mr LaBute is very capable of handling different genres.
    Highly Recommended.[​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
  2. Edwin Pereyra

    Edwin Pereyra Producer

    Oct 26, 1998
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    Having seen all of Neil LaBute’s previous films including In The Company of Men, Your Friends & Neighbors and Nurse Betty, Possession is a nice change of pace from his earlier edgier films.
    LaBute appears to be comfortable and seems to have a firm grasp of this genre as he tells the story of two scholars played by Aaron Eckhart and Gwyneth Paltrow who investigate the personal lives of two Victorian poets (Jennifer Ehle and Jeremy Northam).
    Much has been written about the film’s similarities in style to The French Lieutenant’s Woman. I’ll go a step further and say that Jennifer Ehle bears a striking resemblance to a young Meryl Streep.
    LaBute very successfully tells the story of two pairs of lovers – one from the past and another from the present. Unlike the awkwardness displayed in Iris when it also had to tell two distinct stories separated by time, LaBute gets more mileage from the simple yet effective techniques and conventions he uses. He never losses his audience when switching from one story to the other. He keeps us involved, interested and while being a detective story as well, he keeps us guessing for much of the film.
    All four main principals are very good. We already know that Paltrow can do just about anything but after only supporting roles in Erin Brockovich and Nurse Betty, we finally get a feeling of what Eckhart is capable of (even with that windblown hairstyle). In addition, Northam and Ehle give the film dramatic weight and are very believable in their own roles. Furthermore, the set design and costumes depicting the Victorian era give the film the right look and atmosphere.
    Much of the film’s criticisms come from those comparing it to the source material by A. S. Byatt’s Booker Prize-winning 1990 novel (which includes, among other things, a change in a central character from British to an American). I say that the end product should be judged on its own merits in the medium it is seen.
    For a romantic drama, Possession stays away from being melodramatic by being a mystery and having a sleuth story aspect to it at the same time, and is all the more better for it. It rates:
    Within its own genre: [​IMG] (out of four).
    Film wide: [​IMG]

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