Possession (2002)
Main cast: Gwyneth Paltrow (Maud Bailey), Aaron Eckhart (Roland Michell), Jeremy Northam (Randolph Henry Ash), and Jennifer Ehle (Christabel LaMotte)
Director: Neil LaBute


Oh my goodness, and they call romance novels melodramatic? Possession is one of the most overwrought, overbloated piece of scenery-chewing melodramas I've ever come across. Between cringing at the godawfully corny lines, staring in horror at Jeremy Northam's hair (is that... hair?), and itching to give that repulsive-looking Aaron Eckhart a bath and a shave, I don't know which way is up or down. I just know that this movie makes me feel tingly in the head the way one does when oxygen supply is at an all-time low.

Not to mention that this movie cuts corners around logic for the sake of overblown rubbish. Based on the overrated AS "I make Emily Brontë look like a postmodern minimalist" Byatt novel of same name, this movie nonetheless sees LaBute making unnecessary changes to accommodate the casting of the badly miscast Eckhart. Eckhart mumbles and slurs his way through this movie, his badly flippant "American Boyo" delivery jarring discordantly with the rest of the tone and mood of the movie. Memo to Mr Eckhart: having a stubble is not the same thing as acting. But this is what happens when you ride on your best buddy LaBute's coat tail for so long that all you see is LaBute's ass in your face. You probably lose some perspective.

Will any academic collection leave around "lost" love letters for our American Boyo to discover? This is what Boyo does: he discovers the overwrought, as dramatic as watching two bellows wheeze kind of romance between Victorian poet Rudolph Henry Ash and his forbidden girlie. Jeremy Northam's... hair... is scary, I can't take my eyes off it. He's still as luscious as ever, and I can listen to him talk all day, but he is mouthing lines here that are beyond cheesy, and Jennifer Ehle gets only slightly better lines. Between the two of them, they are like two overwrought theatre students trying to do a Byronian parody. Only, alas, this ain't no parody.

Gwyneth Paltrow fares better than Eckhart, although by osmosis, Eckhart's smug-fuck repulsive method acting and line delivery rub off on the poor gal. She's one of the few American actresses who can play British women convincingly, but even she feels stilted and unnatural in her accent here.

With overblown lines filled with too many superfluous superlatives flying around, and worse, Aaron Eckhart stripping to his dirty skank boxers and trying to do sexy, Possession is my biggest disappointment of the year. I was looking so badly to watch this movie, but what do I get? I Can Do Literature, A Tedious Exercise In Self-Importance by Neil LaBute and his coattail asswipe buddy Aaron "I Lost My Razors In Cannes" Ickyhart.

I want my money back.

Rating: 40


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