Set in the south of the United States just after the Civil War, Laurel Sommersby is just managing to work the farm without her husband Jack, believed killed in the Civil War. By all ... See full summary »
Hallam's talent for spying on people reveals his darkest fears-and his most peculiar desires. Driven to expose the true cause of his mother's death, he instead finds himself searching the rooftops of the city for love.
A retired legal counselor writes a novel hoping to find closure for one of his past unresolved homicide cases and for his unreciprocated love with his superior - both of which still haunt him decades later.
Juan José Campanella
Otto and Ana are kids when they meet each other. Their names are palindromes. They meet by chance, people are related by chance. A story of circular lives, with circular names, and a ... See full summary »
After the death of their loved ones in a tragic plane crash 'Harrison Ford' and Kristin Scott Thomas find each others keys in each others loved ones posessions and realize that they were ... See full summary »
Kristin Scott Thomas,
Charles S. Dutton
Max is on his way to Tokyo. He lives in Paris and likes to flirt but has decided to get married. By chance, he seems to have seen Lisa, his greatest love, in a cafe. Max forgets everything,... See full summary »
Fledgling writer Briony Tallis, as a 13-year-old, irrevocably changes the course of several lives when she accuses her older sister's lover of a crime he did not commit. Based on the British romance novel by Ian McEwan.
Roland Michell is an American scholar trying to make it in the difficult world of British Academia. He has yet to break out from under his mentor's shadow until he finds a pair of love letters that once belonged to one of his idols, a famous Victorian poet. Michell, after some sleuthing, narrows down the suspects to a woman not his wife, another well known Victorian poet. Roland enlists the aid of a Dr. Maud Bailey, an expert on the life of the woman in question. Together they piece together the story of a forbidden love affair, and discover one of their own. They also find themselves in a battle to hold on to their discovery before it falls into the hands of their rival, Fergus Wolfe. Written by
The character names "Maud Bailey" and "Christabel LaMotte" refer to a special form of castle, the Motte-and-Bailey, widespread in the 11th/12th century. See more »
Everyone was handling rare, old documents with their bare hands. Anyone doing this kind of research would know to wear gloves to protect the fragile paper. See more »
They say that women change. 'Tis so, but you are ever-constant in your changefulness. Like that still thread of falling river, one from source to last embrace, in the still pool ever-renewed and ever-moving on, from first to last, a myriad water-drops.
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There have been any number of films where time shifting back and forth is the plot device to tell a story. Mostly the results are mediocre or even abysmal ("Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure": it was nothing of the kind). One of my old and rarely seen favorites is "The Yellow Rolls-Royce."
More recently "The Red Violin", based on Ann Rice's novel, took viewers through several epochs as the impending auction of a magnificent violin loomed. That movie worked. And so does "Possession," also based on a novel and beautifully realized by Neil LaBute, a sensitive director with an outstanding leading cast.
Set in England with a side trip to France, "Possession" follows the path of laconic American scholar "Roland Mitchell" (Aaron Eckhardt) as he works for an eccentric Irish academic. Both specialize in nineteenth century British literature. Apparently Mitchell is still working on his Ph.D - his duties for his employer are largely of a research assistant nature.
At his master's command he goes to the British Museum to verify some data about the great poet, "Randolph Henry Ash" (come to life through Jeremy Northam). Like Professor Peter Schickele, whose fortuitous discoveries of the works of Bach's least known son, P.D.Q., Mitchell stumbles upon several handwritten pages that lead him to believe that a great mystery about the life of Ash might be solvable. Since Ash is being celebrated with exhibitions and academic convocations, this is, certainly, a good time for this Yank to delve into Ash's past.
With the pages in hand (felony larceny comes to mind as the proper acquisition designation) the adventure begins. And soon leads to "Dr. Maud Bailey" played by a luminous Gwyneth Paltrow (Ms. Paltrow is now living in London so her dialect preparation was practical as well as necessary for the film).
Bailey is a specialist on the life of poet "Christabel LaMotte" (Jennifer Ehle). She's reputed to be a tough and difficult person. Often in the academic world, that simply means the person in question is a competent woman. As Bailey and Mitchell deepen their investigation the inevitable but well-acted romantic attraction, rejection, and...well... (you can guess, can't you?) rolls to its certain ending.
The scenes shift seamlessly between the nineteenth century poets and the twenty-first century academic sleuths. Career opportunities, acclaim, lionization by a small coterie of academics in very narrow fields await those who first publish new discoveries. In a real world where many consider weaponizing pathogens to be the true meaningful work of the academy, it's nice to see that a love of literature and an insatiable desire to learn about those whose writings remain cherished can be the focus of a fine film.
Of course there are scurrilous academics afoot - an arrogant American and his toady English assistant - who are sniffing at the trail left by Mitchell and Bailey. The extremes they go to are silly, even funny but NOT implausible. What is very silly are the recurrent anti-American comments that go beyond humor and make me wonder what the script writer's experiences here have been.
Maud and Roland seem real, and so are Christabel and Henry, because their doubts and passions aren't of the exaggerated variety that Masterpiece Theater regularly plucks from English literature or that Merchant/Ivory immortalizes. Each couple in real life would understand the lives and fears of their opposite pairing.
I'm not quite sure why the song "Posseso" accompanies the end credits. In any event I don't understand Italian beyond menu and cookbook so I have little idea what it's about.
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