Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Movie Log: Possession

The Wife and I watched Possession a couple of nights ago; I wanted to see it because I'd read the Booker Prize-winning novel it was based on some time ago (back in the mid-90s, I think, a couple of years after it won).

My memory of the book is very hazy, but I'm pretty sure there was a lot more to it, and especially a lot more of the 19th century plotline. (Of course, a 500-page book has vastly more room for such things than a two-hour movie.)

Possession is a very watchable movie, though I kept expecting Aaron Eckhart to turn into a bastard, since practically every other part he's had over the past decade has been That Bastard. (He never does, if anyone else has that same problem.) We've got two plotlines in this movie -- Eckhart and Gwyneth Paltrow in the modern day as English lit scholars tracking down 19th century secrets, and Jeremy Northam and Jennifer Ehle as the 19th century originals whose secrets we learn about.

Possession is that oddest of things: a movie for people who like to read a lot. Many of the "dramatic" scenes are of Eckhart and Paltrow reading at each other, or at least begin and end that way. Besides the fact that the 19th century folks are poets (since that doesn't actually come into the plot much), the story is driven by people poking through archives, reading old letters, and doing close readings. It's practically an Oxbridge recruitment film.

It was promoted as a romance, which makes sense: it's about two love stories a century and a half apart. But neither plot is a genre romance in the Hollywood sense; the movie does stay close enough to the book to ensure that. So it's a good movie for people who like books, and don't mind a decent love story, but can't stand "romance." (Like me, for instance.)

1 comment:

Paul Weimer said...

I agree, it definitely is a bibliophile's movie. The power and passion of literary research comes through loud and strong.

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