Up 705 this week

Possession (2002)

PG-13  |   |  Drama, Mystery  |  30 August 2002 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 6.4/10 from 11,333 users   Metascore: 52/100
Reviews: 169 user | 100 critic | 34 from

A pair of literary sleuths unearth the amorous secret of two Victorian poets only to find themselves falling under a passionate spell.



(novel), (screenplay), 2 more credits »
Watch Trailer
0Check in

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Video


Celebrate IMDb's 25th Anniversary with Photos We Love

IMDb turns 25 on October 17! To celebrate, we put together a gallery of some of our favorite movie, TV, and event photos from the last 25 years.

See the Photos We Love

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 28 titles
created 04 Jul 2011
a list of 28 titles
created 30 Jun 2012
a list of 26 titles
created 12 Jun 2013
a list of 42 titles
created 30 Jul 2013
a list of 38 titles
created 09 Jul 2014

Related Items

Search for "Possession" on

Connect with IMDb

Share this Rating

Title: Possession (2002)

Possession (2002) on IMDb 6.4/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Possession.

User Polls

1 nomination. See more awards »



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Unhappy couples fall apart and hop into other beds with other people.

Director: Neil LaBute
Stars: Amy Brenneman, Aaron Eckhart, Ben Stiller
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Two business executives--one an avowed misogynist, the other recently emotionally wounded by his love interest--set out to exact revenge on the female gender by seeking out the most innocent, uncorrupted girl they can find and ruining her life.

Director: Neil LaBute
Stars: Aaron Eckhart, Matt Malloy, Stacy Edwards
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Quiet, unassuming Adam is changing in a major way, thanks to his new girlfriend, art student Evelyn. Adam's friends are a little freaked by the transformation.

Director: Neil LaBute
Stars: Paul Rudd, Rachel Weisz, Gretchen Mol
Sylvia (2003)
Biography | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Story of the relationship between the poets Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath.

Director: Christine Jeffs
Stars: Gwyneth Paltrow, Daniel Craig, Lucy Davenport
Emma (1996)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

In rural 1800s England things go bad for a young matchmaker after she finds a man for another woman.

Director: Douglas McGrath
Stars: Gwyneth Paltrow, James Cosmo, Greta Scacchi
Bounce (2000)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

A man switches plane tickets with another man who dies in that plane in a crash. The man falls in love with the deceased one's wife.

Director: Don Roos
Stars: Ben Affleck, Gwyneth Paltrow, Natasha Henstridge
Proof (2005)
Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

The daughter of a brilliant but mentally disturbed mathematician, recently deceased, tries to come to grips with her possible inheritance: his insanity. Complicating matters are one of her father's ex-students who wants to search through his papers and her estranged sister who shows up to help settle his affairs.

Director: John Madden
Stars: Gwyneth Paltrow, Anthony Hopkins, Hope Davis
Hush (1998)
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.2/10 X  

Helen is the young girlfriend of good-looking Jackson Baring. When Helen gets pregnant and marries Jackson, they decide to move to his hometown, Kilronan, and have a baby there. But his ... See full summary »

Director: Jonathan Darby
Stars: Jessica Lange, Gwyneth Paltrow, Johnathon Schaech
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

When a man and woman flirt with each other at a wedding reception, the sexual tension seems spontaneous. As they break from the party to a hotel room, the flirtation turns into a night filled with passion and remorse.

Director: Hans Canosa
Stars: Helena Bonham Carter, Aaron Eckhart, Yury Tsykun
Sliding Doors (1998)
Comedy | Drama | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A London woman's love life and career both hinge, unknown to her, on whether or not she catches a train. We see it both ways, in parallel.

Director: Peter Howitt
Stars: Gwyneth Paltrow, John Hannah, John Lynch
Possession (2008)
Drama | Mystery | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

A woman's life is thrown into chaos after a freak car accident sends her husband and brother-in-law into comas. Thrills arrive after the brother-in-law wakes up, thinking he's his brother.

Directors: Joel Bergvall, Simon Sandquist
Stars: Sarah Michelle Gellar, Lee Pace, Michael Landes
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

A man marries an heiress for her money even though he is actually in love with her friend.

Director: James Ivory
Stars: Uma Thurman, Jeremy Northam, Kate Beckinsale


Cast overview, first billed only:
Blanche Glover
Ellen Ash
Fergus Wolfe
Tom Hickey ...
Sir George
Lady Bailey
Craig Crosbie ...
Christopher Good ...


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 C.D.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The past will connect them. The passion will possess them.


Drama | Mystery

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for sexuality and some thematic elements | See all certifications »


Official Sites:





Release Date:

30 August 2002 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Posesión  »

Box Office


$25,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$1,575,214 (USA) (16 August 2002)


$66,775 (Australia) (6 December 2002)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


A large part of Church Street in Whitby was dressed to give it the appearance of a 18/19th century fishing town. Gwyneth Paltrow insisted that the whole place was screened off so that she was not visible to the small crowd of on-lookers. Jeremy Northam, however, took time to go and talk about the film to the bystanders. Miss Paltrow also turned down an offer from the local dignitaries to meet the mayor and be shown around the town. The Whitby Gazette carried a massive banner headline declaring "PALTROW SNUBS WHITBY". See more »


When Maude is in her car waiting for Roland to come out of the museum, her window is down. When he gets in the car and they begin talking, it is rolled up. See more »


[first lines]
Randolph Ash: 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.
See more »


References The French Lieutenant's Woman (1981) See more »


Performed by Ramón Vargas
Conducted by Gabriel Yared
Music by Gabriel Yared
Original lyrics by Peter Gosling
Italian translation: Michela Antonello
Orchestra leader: Cathy Thompson
Produced by Gabriel Yared and Graham Walker
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Airport-Novel of a Movie
30 September 2006 | by (Sweden) – See all my reviews

It needs to be said; this is not a very good film, but it does keep up the appearance of one fairly well, carrying a facade of mystery, romance and great literature. The director navigates two parallel story lines – one taking place between two secret lovers in the mid-1800s and one taking place between two soon-to-be-lovers in the 21st century – the latter couple finding their romance as they are unlocking the lovestory of the former... through letters. The bad news is that the director only put his heart into one of the story lines, namely the costume one, and as a result, the modern day lovestory between Gwyneth Paltrow and Aaron Eckhart as literary sleuths suffers greatly. Nevertheless, Possession makes for an OK diversion into quasi-romance.

Starting in the positive end then, period-junkies Jeremy Northam and Jennifer Ehle are breathtaking to watch as poets during the Richmond period in England. They are two people who cannot be together, for one has chosen a wife and the other has chosen a life of 'shared solitude' (which is a euphemism for a lesbian relationship). Yet they begin a correspondence of love letters, which blossoms into a fully-fletched romance, embroidered in intrigue and quiet passion. Ehle's beautiful, reassuring smiles conveying the latter. At times their story is achingly romantic, so I think this aspect is very nicely tended to in the film. The graceful words in their letters even invests the film in a lyrical flow of sorts.

For our modern day story, Gwyneth Paltrow plays the icy literary expert Maud Bailey, who is also a descendant of Ehle's character, but clearly lacking in her passion. The film offers no satisfying explanation as to why the chilly Maud suddenly warms up and falls for Roland (Eckhart), other than they they are researching the lost letters together. I love Eckhart, but truly believe he is all wrong for this part. He ends up clumsy and flat and underdeveloped in the film (the novel probably offered more insight into his character, I don't know) and again, Maud's attraction to him seems far-fetched. I really can't stress how bad their storyline is; no description will do it justice.

Otherwise, Possession does a fair job of melting themes of love and love lost as it progresses and it occasionally manages thrilling. In order to get events unfolding, Maud and Roland unlock the mystery of the ancient lovestory by conveniently appearing clues, hidden hatches and notes. It's into Da Vinci Code territory with this approach to plot, but it works to a point. There is also seamless, fluent intercutting of the two parallel stories in the editing process. Neither a very solid nor very interesting template here, but "Possession" does make for a fine pastime.

6 out of 10

24 of 34 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Ash and his wife angelmystery16
Seen the movie, but not read the book? Enter here.... flippetskater
Boring and useless deadraque
Unbiased book vs. movie advice kennahuliagulia
Similar Movies? phantom4501
Was Roland Mitchell American in the book? tanyareeves
Discuss Possession (2002) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: