thatcow

Fancy a word or two about a poet?

So you got a degree in English poetry, what do you do with it? Apparently for Aaron Eckhart and Gwyneth Paltrow, you enter research and uncover new history that reveals the context in which certain poems were written.

No, Possession is not the next great action flick. Ninety-something percent of the movie-going public is going to give this movie the big yawn. Perhaps I might be optimistic enough to think maybe twenty percent of those people could enjoy it, if that many gave it a chance.

That's the main problem of this material - I wonder how hard it was to get the movie made in the first place, whether this was independently financed or what they told the studio to think they'd get the money back (or the Oscar in the trophy case).

Having seen so many films lately that appeal to that eighty or ninety percent, I spent the first fifteen minutes struggling to figure out what this thing was on the screen in front of me. Eventually I had to conclude it was no more than what I was watching - no sneaky agenda being pulled over my eyes. It really is a tale of uncovering a literary mystery. The mystery forms a second story that is shown on the screen as well, played primarily by Jeremy Northam and Jennifer Ehle, an illicit romance between two poets whose inspirations have traditionally been placed on other sources.

We are moving back and forth between the storylines throughout, following both stories linearly - quite convenient that this is the order in which they reveal the details of the mystery... Yet, honestly, the details of the mystery do lend themselves to a linear uncovering - not something I would have expected, but certainly within the realm of possibility.

As we see the historic romance revealed, our two collaborating scholars fall in love themselves. Was this the secret agenda I didn't see before? Well, with no offerings of violence in the works, it did seem inevitable considerating the convenient pairing of male and female leads. The thing is, the modern story is somewhat played down relative to the historic one, leaving it more believable than your standard swelling music sort of romance.

There is a side plot involving some shady researchers who want to take advantage of our erstwhile young pair. This is the most blatant element presented to us, but is done in a somewhat offhand way, not dominating the narrative. I can hear the screenwriter struggling over it - not wanting to resort to cheap tricks, but knowing something has to raise the tension toward the end of the movie. This wasn't a bad way of doing it.

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