It's a romance about two scholars, Maud Bailey and Roland Michell (Paltrow and Aaron Eckhart), who fall for each other while uncovering a torrid affair in the letters between two Victorian poets. Possession moves at a conservative pace, but it has a slow, satisfying burn.
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The passion between both couples (Jeremy Northam and Jennifer Ehle are the Victorian lovers in flashback) is restrained but always palpable, even as Paltrow and Eckhart explore a mystery of literature, which I realize sounds boring on paper (now you know why it's sat on my queue for so long). Ultimately, the ending is emotionally fulfilling, and the movie itself has that romantic English-countryside aspect to it. I enjoyed it for many of the same reasons I loved last year's Bright Star so much.
And if I'm being totally honest with you, one thing that makes watching this movie so, so worth it is Aaron Eckhart. I've long had a thing for him, but I'm pretty sure that this is the movie that shows him off in his best light: as a sentimental intellectual with sexily-mussed hair. This is definitely worth the rental/instant play if only to cultivate your crush on Eckhart (or marvel at Paltrow's remarkable British accent).
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