We gave it a C
Adapted from the 1990 novel by A.S. Byatt, ”Possession” marks a radical departure for director-coscreenwriter Neil LaBute (”In the Company of Men”). Unlike his usual battles of the sexes, this is a tale of two parallel romances: Paltrow and Eckhart play scholars who piece together a secret 19th-century affair between a famous, married poet (Jeremy Northam) and a beautiful lesser-known bisexual poet (Jennifer Ehle). Thanks to the dashing Northam and the luminous Ehle, the Victorian lovers prove to be far more interesting than the contemporary duo of Eckhart and Paltrow (in yet another upper-crusty British role). LaBute and his attractive leads try their hardest to make literary sleuthing sexy, but ”Possession” still feels a bit musty.