Gwenyth Paltrow is a star. She is blonde, beautiful, and a pretty good actress - after all, she won an Oscar a few years back. Nevertheless, I am not at all impressed with her latest drama, "Possession." It is actually funnier than "Shakespeare in Love," but not intentionally.
Let us look at a piece of dialogue from the film...
Toby Stephens (with a snotty British accent): "Or as they say in America, 'How's it hanging?'"
Aaron Eckhart (an American that can't act): "No, we usually just say 'Hey," unless you're gay."
Let me remind you that "Possession" is a romance. It is about two modern day scholars that begin to suspect that their respective studies of focus, two poets from Victorian times, had a love affair, even though one was supposed to be happily married, the other a chaste lesbian. The movie follows both the modern day story and the story from the past, but as evident from the dialogue above, it fails miserably in capturing any kind of realistic or powerful moments between the characters.
Aaron Eckhart turns in a terrible performance as a young, rebellious American working in London who wrecklessly steals a couple of original pieces of work from the library and so forth in his quest to find the truth. The script is crap, but Eckhart doesn't help matters; furthermore, the chemistry between him and Gwenyth Paltrow, who plays a British woman with a stick up her ass, is non-existent. Paltrow works okay, but she doesn't exactly make the best of a bad situation.
Aside from the cheesiness of the love stories and character interactions, "Possession" suffers tremendously from obvious cliches about the interaction between Brits and Americans. While there is some playful bantering in real life, the two countries are pretty much over their little disagreements, yet the screenwriters seem to think that people from the two countries can barely stand in the same room together. Eckhart spends the whole movie acting like a scholarly cowboy and making fun of how stuck-up the British are; I don't think the screenwriters have even visited the United Kingdom.
While I wasn't expecting a whole lot from "Possession," I was not expecting such a cheesy, unrealistic and pathetic dramedy such as this.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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