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About the Film

What does it mean to risk, to truly risk all? To go after something that you and those around you would normally consider foolish, dangerous or just plain wrong – yet you cannot help yourself. Right or wrong, you are swept away…

Adapted from A.S. Byatt’s 1990 novel Possession (which earned the author the U.K.’s prestigious Booker Prize for Fiction), Possession is the new film from Neil LaBute.

Possession is a lushly romantic study of both the transcendent power of language and the seductive nature of literary mystery. In this case, the mystery spirals beyond the past and into the present. Bridging the two eras is the language of love, expressed in grand physical passions yet also at its fullest in the written word.

Maud Bailey (Gwyneth Paltrow), a brilliant English academic given to doing things by the book, is researching the life and work of Victorian poet Christabel LaMotte (Jennifer Ehle). Roland Michell (Aaron Eckhart) is an upstart American scholar in London on a fellowship to study the great Randolph Henry Ash (Jeremy Northam). Ash, the poet laureate to Queen Victoria, is now best-known for a collection of rapturous, late-life poems dedicated to his wife that are going on centenary exhibition.

When Maud and Roland discover a cache of love letters that appear to be from Ash to LaMotte, they follow a trail of clues across England to the Continent, echoing the romantic journey of the impassioned couple over a century earlier.

  • Neil LaBute