(ag) wrote: I'm not a lover of movies that have a certain amount of gimmick, yet "Possession" is good enough to where it's acceptable. The whole point of the film is to tell two love stories simultaneously, one contemporary and one forgotten in the sands of time. I'm not a sucker for movies like this, you could say, "glossy melodramas", but the film itself is so classy and well-made that I never felt ashamed of enjoying it. It's a flawed film, but "Possession" is very good. Roland Mitchell (Aaron Eckhart) is an academic researcher visiting London who discovers a series of love letters written by Victorian poet Randolph Henry Ash (Jeremy Northam). Normally, this wouldn't be much of a story, but it's somewhat scandalous; Ash was famous for his writing but also because he was devoted to his wife (Holly Aird), through and through. But the letters that Mitchell has uncovered were not written to her, but to Christabel LaMotte (Jennifer Ehle), another poet that for years had been presumed as a lesbian. Quickly, Mitchell contacts Maud Bailey (Gwyneth Paltrow), a British woman who is an expert when it comes to LaMotte's life. Bailey is skeptical at first; after all, what she knows is that LaMotte spent much of her life with a female companion (Lena Headey). But the more the two investigate, the more they find, and as it turns out, Ash and LaMotte's affair was all but simple. And with all romance movies, as they research, Bailey and Mitchell begin to fall for each other as well. Romance movies are hit are miss, and so are ones with gimmicks like "Possession". It tells two stories at once, intercutting scenes of LaMotte and Ash's affair as Mitchell and Bailey discover new information. The film in its own way, is kind of a mystery. It does a neat and tidy job of connecting the modern day characters with those of the past, yet it's hard to say which party is more interesting. Either way, we're never left completely bored. The film itself is a slow burn, as we're necessarily introduced to all of the characters. But it only takes a matter of time for the film to sweep us into its grandiose romance stories, all the while maintaining to be dramatic enough to keep us enticed. By the end, "Possessed" feels a lot like a '40s romance movie-- it's absorbing, refreshing, and ultimately it touches us. It's beautifully shot, and it doesn't hurt that Ehle looks a lot like Greer Garson. But this is somewhat of a character movie, and so "Possession" sits on its actors' shoulders. Mitchell is the kind of guy that wisecracks near constantly, attempting to charm everyone, with mild results. Whether or not the script wants him to be a witty type, nevertheless it works hard to indicate that he's a little bit of a mess-- he carries his writer's satchel like a blankie, his hair constantly has the bed-head lure of a hipster, and he wears the same coat everyday. With all this, the one-liners that appear clunky at first tie together the character. Even with all of this analyzation, Eckhart's performance is nothing more than dependable, and the character itself isn't interesting enough to have the hook leading characters should have. That honor goes to Paltrow. Paltrow is always more fascinating when she's sporting her impeccable British accent. She always easily charms us with her stylish presence, somewhat of a cross between Grace Kelly and Audrey Hepburn. But as Maude, she is everything we love to see in a Gwyneth Paltrow performance -- down-to-earth, subtly impressive, and charming. Even if the film isn't terrific, Paltrow is always lovely to watch, and if anything, she's the reason to see it. "Possession" is a very good romance film that, while you may not remember it a year later, is satisfying. It's not sudsy, but it's touching, and it's well-acted, but not hammy. It's exactly what it should be.