Projections - Movie Reviews



Almost immediately a sense of quality fills director Neil LaBute's Possession as we are wished into a delightful mystery, not about murder, about love.

Roland (Arron Eckhart) an American doing research in England comes across one hundred fifty year old hand written love letters in a history book about fictional Victorian poet, Randolph Henry Ash (played in a parallel story by Jeremy Northam).  Roland is paired with stuffy traditional Maud (Gwyneth Paltrow) who at the beginning has no use for the committed but penniless unconventional American.

LaBute's direction draws us in both answering questions about the one hundred fifty year old events and the quality of every action by the characters.  We are treated to the imagined or historical (depending how it is perceived) as the story moves back and forward in time as the two modern researchers discover new facts.  LaBute is even able to make a scene of pulling packets of documents from a research library interesting to watch as Roland coasts back and forth down the isles on his three wheel computer chair.

The first question revolves around whether the Victorian poet ever sent the letter to fellow poet Christable LaMotte (Jennifer Ehle) a feminist poet who has a lesbian lover.  The connection between the two couples is molded by their interest in poetry and each sends quotes out to have the other finish the lines.  That common interest brings both couples close and even Maud begins to remove the barriers toward the American Roland.  In the past Christable sees Randolph differently than other men, which brings pain to her passionate, jealous lover.

The 1850 segments are in sympathy with the very successful The Others as we are drawn with a magnetic feel to each piece of the puzzle the historical letters lead to.

We see Christable walking toward her first romantic encounter through a series of columns as her flowing robe drifts behind her.  It is the initial step in the anatomy of a Victorian romance, which leads to a full blown affair, a suicide, an unknown little girl and a romantic atmosphere which is seldom equaled on the screen today.

The unfamiliar past and the contemporary romance fill the script with a perfect date movie which even the stone cold Maud can not resist.  Like her we can't help falling in love with Possession.


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