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Archived Group Reads 2009-10 > Possession - Finished

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The Book Whisperer (aka Boof) | 828 comments This thread is for those who have finished the book and wish to discuss freely including spoilers.


Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.) (captain_sir_roddy) Elizabeth wrote: "Definitely SPOILERS!

Has anyone else finished the book? I finished this afternoon and I'm just aching to talk about the ending. Not the very end but the chapter before, where Maud and Ronald final..."


Elizabeth, I guess that didn't bother me so much. I looked at the novel as the dual plots of the emotional and psychological melding of the minds of Christabel and Randolph, and that of Maud and Roland, versus the physical act itself. I think it was important in each case, but could not have happened without that deep, almost spiritual, communion that each couple achieved. Their joint "possession" of the same emotional and spiritual plane is what made it possible for each couple. Very interesting to think about in the context of the whole novel though, Elizabeth. Cheers! Chris


message 3: by Darcy (new)

Darcy | 232 comments Elizabeth, I have to admit that I'm with you about the ending. There's something really shocking about reading the narrator's description of it:

"and very slowly and with infinite gentle delays and delicate diversions and variations of indirect assault Roland finally, to use an outdated phrase, entered and took possession of all her white coolness that grew warm against him"

The description bothers me not so much because they have sex, but because despite the loveliness of the "new . . . tart smell" in the morning, this seems to be an incredible betrayal of Maud; the narrator seems to suggest that sex between a man and a woman will always constitute the possession of the woman, and that we simply can't get away from that. Why, after such an extended and complicated exploration of women's (and men's) sexuality, does the narrator deliberately choose to use "an outdated phrase"?


message 4: by Darcy (new)

Darcy | 232 comments I know! So here's a really weird thing--I was just looking around online about this novel and came across an article that compares the British and American versions. Here's the article, in case anyone is interested; it goes on for some time about spellings, but also mentions deletions, insertions, changes to the poem layouts and even the use of graphic materials. Anyway, here's the bit I thought might interest people:

from a letter by Byatt to Helge Nowak:
When the [American (HN):] editor first proposed to buy Possession she told me that the book would have to be very heavily cut for the American market - "You have spoiled a fine intrigue with extraneous matter" "most of the correspondence, journals etc will have to go" "there must be few poems and those there are short." [...:] I said this was unacceptable, and she said she wd edit 100 pages and send them to me [...:] I waited for several months and then the 100 pp came. She had decided that Roland was not "sexy" or sympathetic enough to appeal to "our American audience" and that I was to amend the descriptions of him. The whole project made me quite ill. At this point however it became clear that the book was selling in Britain, and then it won the Booker Prize. So I told my agent we wd find a publisher in the USA who would publish what I had written, and the editor sent a fax saying that I could have my book as I wished, though she did not think it wd sell. She insisted on retaining the one concession - the description of Roland - I had made, and also insisted on changing the line ordering and paragraphing, which she said was "eccentric". [...:] There were attempts to substitute American words for English ones - paper route for paper round, which I resisted, and something or other for radiogram, wch I may have accepted, as radiogram means something quite different in American.

She proposed sex between Maud and Roland where I had avoided it, and kept writing in the margin "You have missed a great opportunity for a climax!!!"


Later, in the letter, Byatt refers to this again:
I agreed to expand on Roland's thoughts as an act of self-destructive desperation, not because I thought it improved things - I thought it was redundant and nonsensical - but because I am naturally good mannered and it was the only one of the editorial suggestions I felt even partly capable of accepting. That was one of the places (as I remember) where the editor had made the comment that I had missed a good opportunity for a climax, which I don't think she even saw was ambiguous or funny.

Not to be confusing--I don't think Byatt is referring to the sex scene at the end of the novel; the American editor wanted a sex scene much earlier. So, I don't think this really answers the questions about the sex scene at the end, but it is really interesting that at least one editor was adamant that American and British audiences would have entirely different expectations for where and when a sex scene should occur.


message 5: by SarahC (new)

SarahC (sarahcarmack) | 1424 comments Remember Roland's literary namesake? There is an interpretation by Catherine Burgass that sits well with me. About Maud & Roland's consummation:

..the boundaries have fallen or been lowered because of Roland's gentleness, the postmodern knight has worthily won his fair lady. In spite of the use of the word "possession".... Roland represents only minimal threat to Maud's autonomy. The union of Roland, who was Ash's literary disciple and Maud, who is Christabel's literal descendent, in some sense represents the eventual happy ending for the Victorian lovers themselves."

Knowing Byatt's writing and reading/hearing so much of her commentary, it would be very conflicting to me that she held any outdated views of men possessing (controlling) women sexually or otherwise.


Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.) (captain_sir_roddy) Sarah wrote: "Remember Roland's literary namesake? There is an interpretation by Catherine Burgass that sits well with me. About Maud & Roland's consummation:

..the boundaries have fallen or been lowered beca..."


Sarah, I think your assessment is how I saw it too. I just didn't see the "possession" as a sexually controlling event at all; but as their communal possession of the same spiritual plane that Randolph and Christabel had found together on their month-long trip to the coast in 1859.


message 7: by toria (vikz writes) (last edited Sep 09, 2009 08:44AM) (new)

toria (vikz writes) (victoriavikzwrites) Just finished this book and really liked it. I really liked her description of academic rivalry. An, addition I like her discussion of sexual politic, both the comptemporary and Victorian era.


toria (vikz writes) (victoriavikzwrites) I see the title referring to possession in ways. Firstly, sexually, ref your discussion. And, secondly, who has the possession of the archive.


message 9: by Darcy (new)

Darcy | 232 comments Yeah, I agree, Elizabeth--I think Byatt, in general, has a fairly complicated relationship with feminism (for an example, here's an interview with ), and that emerges in this novel. While I really appreciate that feminism has come to the point where we can now safely mock it, I also think that Byatt is maybe being disingenuous in reducing feminists or feminism to such easily defined categories. Especially the "academic" feminist.

I have the feeling that the sex scene at the end is one of those things that people either love or hate. I don't want to ruin anyone's enjoyment of the novel--far from it--but I have to admit that I just can't get away from the idea that it's not really a happy ending. Byatt says in the interview mentioned above:

I learned survival by dividing everything off -- friends from lovers, conversations from sex. You didn't try to get it all in one place. There is this mythical desire for wholeness where you'd have your mind and body and the other person's mind and body completely meeting. The only marriages in which I have seen that happen are childless marriages. It can happen, but the precarious balance is broken by the arrival of children, even with the best will in the world.

Maybe it's just me, but it feels like Maud and Roland achieve a resolution that can only be sustained through division (he's in Amsterdam, she's in England) and a promise from Roland that he, basically, won't bug her. I dunno . . . this formulation just seems to me to be so sad and incredibly pessimistic. But maybe I'm just being impractical ;)



message 10: by Darcy (new)

Darcy | 232 comments No kidding. I knew a professor couple who lived apart for 12 years. They finally got the opportunity to work at the same place and they seriously considered not doing it. After 12 years, you can see why. Academia can be rough on couples, although I think that's changing a little bit.

As you say, it all comes down to what works. Maybe this works for Roland and Maud. What strikes me as interesting is that Possession seems largely to be about the very type of "mythic wholeness" she describes as being so rare . . . and yet she also seems to suggest here that even if you are lucky enough to find it, such wholeness is unsustainable.

Just out of curiosity--has anyone seen the movie version? Does it have the same ending?


Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.) (captain_sir_roddy) Elizabeth wrote: "That quote is pretty bleak, Darcy. I definitely get the sense from this one and other novels that Byatt has a different time with children, relationships, etc. since all of her books seem to have t..."

Just a couple of observations. First, I think the consummation of the physical relationship between Roland and Maud was meant to be complementary to the physical relationship between Randolph and Christabel. In neither sexual relationship is 'possession' of one by the other involved. After their sojourn along the northern coast, Randolph and Christabel are permanently separated; and at the end of the novel it seems that Maud and Roland are also to be separated.

I found it interesting too, that after the birth of their daughter, that Christabel was able to reacquire some measure of her own self-possession after the 'daemonic possession' of their romance. In many respects, I think Maud had to go through a somewhat similar liberating process too in her relationship with Roland and the 'possession' of the academic chase. It seems that with both couples it was the tension between 'passion' and 'possession' that drove the narrative.

Darcy, I think you make an excellent observation about the "mocking of feminism." I felt that it was healthy and not deprecatory. Look at the characters of Beatrice Nest and Leonora Stern. Byatt spends a lot of the novel making us aware of the dangers or risks in trying to read too much into the words or actions of historical figures that we study. I think it was somewhere in the novel where somebody said, "Biographers can't know everything that was thought, said, or done." The 'relationship' between Blanche Glover and Christabel LaMotte was clearly such an example. Leonora Stern was firmly convinced (and I think Maud was too for a time) that it was a lesbian relationship -- it just made sense from Leonora's feminist perspective (e.g., her reading of Christabel's Melusine, etc.). I don't know that the novel resolved that point firmly in one direction or the other (probably Byatt's intention), but it left lots of room for interpretation on either side. Beatrice Nest always knew that 'something' was up with Ellen Ash, through reading her journals; but was never quite able to put her finger on precisely what it was. Finally, while all of the academics are left with the impression that Randolph Ash never knew of his daughter; we, the reader, are able to find out, through the post-script, that in fact he did know of her, and knew her personally.

This novel is like an onion; and I'm sure that with each subsequent reading I will continue to dig more out of it. It is simply a brilliant novel on so many levels. Truly one of my favorite books of all time.

Oh, and by the bye, my wife and I spent five years in a commuting marriage. I took a job over here in California in 2000; while Susan maintained her job and our house in Phoenix, Arizona. For the first five years, I went back and forth on weekends, or she came over here. We have since rejoined under the same roof (in 2005); and I believe that we both think the experience made our relationship even better. The kids were long grown up, so that was never a factor.

Great discussions! Cheers! Chris




message 12: by SarahC (new)

SarahC (sarahcarmack) | 1424 comments Commenting on feminists in Possession,

I don't think she singled out "the feminist" largely above the other types in the story. They seemed to be among the academics who had affected Maud's life most detrimentally. Maud is young but a strong woman character, but as a female academic had been tested out by other women academics, with strongly feminist views (another very realist area of the book). Maud's experiences represented a reality that women CAN be very hard on other women. While insisting on not be judged for being women, these women were judging Maud for her golden hair. It DOES happen.

But there were other academics that were giving just as hard of a time in the story. The dismissive Blackadder. The ridiculous Cropper. These were the types that academics like Roland have to face. So I think all these characters balance the story really. And I didn't perceive that she meant that most female academics were feminists, really.

I imagine Byatt among some professors in my past -- there she is brilliant, imaginative, writing novels like Possession, studying early fairytales -- they would be stunned. ha ha


message 13: by SarahC (new)

SarahC (sarahcarmack) | 1424 comments Did I miss something? Was the mystery of Randolph's death mask ever solved? At the beginning this comes up as we learn that Roland has a photo of it in his flat. And he says no one has learned who created it and it was unusual because Ash was without a beard.


message 14: by Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.) (last edited Sep 10, 2009 05:05PM) (new)

Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.) (captain_sir_roddy) I almost screwed up! I sort of lost track of what discussion thread I was in and addressed a comment that 'Silver Wood' made in the "Possession Ch. 1-13" thread; and had a bit-o-spoiler in it. I deleted that comment and have re-posted her comment and my response here. Whew!

Silver wrote: "In reading the snippets of the diary of Ellen Ash, particularly in the part in which Ellen seems to reflect some regret upon the state of her domesticity and talks of her wishes to have been a Poet or a Poem, and how she neither truly helped or hindered her husband, I wonder can some comparison be drawn between Ellen Ash and her husband and Roland and Val?"

Silver, I think you have something there. Byatt does that with relationships and people throughout the novel's dual plots. I would say too, that it is basically pretty clear from the start that Val and Roland's relationship, while lengthy, is not as deep (nor probably as deeply painful) as that between Randolph and Ellen. Also, while I think that Roland and Val did "love" each; they didn't, in my opinion, love each other the way that Randolph and Ellen did. I have to say that the revelation about Randolph and Ellen was quite shocking the first time I read the novel. You're doing very well with the novel, Silver; good catch! Cheers! Chris


message 15: by SarahC (new)

SarahC (sarahcarmack) | 1424 comments Elizabeth wrote: "No, the death mask was never explained. Not sure why it was there except as a ghost haunting Roland.

On the feminists thing. I called it out because she referred to them as a pack, "the feminists"..."


Elizabeth, you are right in pointing out the difference that the feminists were discussed as a group and the other characters were at least given a chance as more developed characters.

This is an endlessly discussable (is that a word?) novel!




message 16: by Thalia (new)

Thalia Possession is probably one of the most aptly named books I've ever read...I could make a long list of how it applies... However, it failed to possess unfortunately. I liked the story line well enough, as Byatt has a gift of forming very interesting characters and setting an excellent scene but I found the poetry, fairytales, and letters far too tedious after a fashion so that I found the book a chore to read at times. I'm disappointed (in myself) really, this author is obviously the real deal. Oh well...accept ones limitations I suppose....



Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.) (captain_sir_roddy) Anna wrote: "Christopher wrote: "I almost screwed up! I sort of lost track of what discussion thread I was in and addressed a comment that 'Silver Wood' made in the "Possession Ch. 1-13" thread; and had a bit-..."

Oh, I am so waiting for The Children's Book. I think it is expected in U.S. bookstores in late-October. Cheers! Chris


message 18: by Thalia (new)

Thalia Anna wrote: "Thalia- Try The Children's Book. It has some similar themes etc, but no letters or poems...."

I stumbled across that title when I was looking for Possession and it caught my attention. I then saw it at the book store last week but only in hardcover and it's WAY too much. However, I think it sounds good so I'll try to source it out through my library. Thanks Anna!




message 19: by SarahC (new)

SarahC (sarahcarmack) | 1424 comments I believe The Children's Hour is now a Booker award nominee.

Chris, Ellen may have just represented the fact that women weren't meant to define their own sexuality, but just meant to get properly married and deal with it. Because, really Ellen Ash may have had a different sexual preference herself. We don't know, right? But Byatt really explores it all because Randolph and Ellen do seem to truly love and care for each other. Or maybe their marriage partnership grew to a strong bond anyway.


message 20: by Annie (new)

Annie (smallbookblogger) | 16 comments I liked the book okay but here was my issue. When I read Historical Fiction it's usually made interesting because it's based around a real person(s) and/or events. This was a historical fiction fiction. it was basically 2 ph-d textual researchers who love 1 poet specifically each, figure out there is a mysterious never been looked at before link between their poets, and delve even farther into their research/books. My issue was, since i knew these were made up poets, i just didn't really care about it and reading ALL the poems and stories and ended up skimming quite a bit after being 250 pages in, I just still wasn't sure I could do it since I just couldn't care enough about the poets these characters were enamoured with. I liked the overall story line but just couldn't get into it. I read more in the ending 100 pages or so because I liked where the story was going but still...you can guess how it's going to end. I remembered after reading it that I had seen the movie and didn't care for it either.


message 21: by SarahC (new)

SarahC (sarahcarmack) | 1424 comments Annie wrote: "I liked the book okay but here was my issue. When I read Historical Fiction it's usually made interesting because it's based around a real person(s) and/or events. This was a historical fiction fic..."

Annie, your comment makes me wonder -- has the term historical fiction changed from what it meant earlier? I did think it was only fiction involving real people or historic events. I hear it referring to many types of novel these days. Any thoughts?


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (susannag) | 628 comments It can mean both, but I have also seen the term "period fiction."


message 23: by Annie (new)

Annie (smallbookblogger) | 16 comments hEY sARAH, I agree, it's morphed some but still probably the same basic term- it includes fictions set in historic periods, like this one, made up people and events but takes place in medieval times or whenever. This one is definitly historical in how they had to handwrite EVERYTHING or photocopy for research, mailing letters, travel, protocal, etc. for BOTH time periods. I think i just really wanted to like/love the novel and couldn't because the poets they were researching aren't real/never lived. I think I would have been able to applaud the research, energy, findings etc. it if was, for example, Edgar Allen Poe and Anne Bronte.


message 24: by Annie (new)

Annie (smallbookblogger) | 16 comments For books like this period fiction is definily a better term.


message 25: by SarahC (new)

SarahC (sarahcarmack) | 1424 comments Possession may be just difficult to label, because it is also modern fiction. I think fiction with only an earlier setting (rather than the two time periods) could be labeled period fiction -- like period movies. I just wasn't sure if book publishers are changing the labels these days.


message 26: by Laurel (new)

Laurel Hicks (goodreadscomlaurele) | 200 comments Sarah wrote: "Possession may be just difficult to label, because it is also modern fiction. I think fiction with only an earlier setting (rather than the two time periods) could be labeled period fiction -- lik..."

I think labels are something Byatt very much wants to steer clear of. And I agree with her. The only label she gives the book is "A Romance."


message 27: by SarahC (new)

SarahC (sarahcarmack) | 1424 comments I certainly agree with you about labels -- because they limit the story and skew the expectations of the reader. But I doubt it is something we can escape in the modern world.


message 28: by Laurel (new)

Laurel Hicks (goodreadscomlaurele) | 200 comments Elizabeth, I just went back to read the Hawthorne quote. Excellent! The House of the Seven Gables is one of my favorite books. The last phrase of the quote is good: "...the attempt to connect a bygone time with the very present that is flitting away from us."


message 29: by Peregrine (last edited Sep 16, 2009 02:57PM) (new)

Peregrine | 103 comments "I wonder - if I had kept to my motte-and-bailey defences - should I have been a great poet - as you are?" p.502

http://www.historyonthenet.com/Lesson...

I think that Randolph did attack and overwhelm Christabel's defences. I also think that the views of their time, of women and men and the relationships possible between them, supported this. Christabel yielded, or was overcome, I believe, because the societal pressures against a woman being on her own, or in a committed relationship with another woman, were huge. It would have been almost impossible for one woman to stand against it. Maud had a better chance in that regard with Roland. I think that Maud yielded to Roland what was keeping her artificially isolated, not her self-containment and security, as did Christabel to Randolph. To slide into semiotics, the bailey is on the flat earth, and is less heavily defended than the motte.


message 30: by SarahC (new)

SarahC (sarahcarmack) | 1424 comments I don't see the situation between Christabel and Randolph as strictly societal pressure. She seemed somewhat to make her own choices in her life after their month together.

Having their child in secret and then choosing her own life seemed more internal choices. I see it as her choosing to live her life independent of Randolph that determined her life afterward rather than pressure to be in partnership with a man.


message 31: by Peregrine (last edited Sep 16, 2009 02:22PM) (new)

Peregrine | 103 comments Sarah wrote: "I don't see the situation between Christabel and Randolph as strictly societal pressure. She seemed somewhat to make her own choices in her life after their month together.

Having their child in..."


Yes, reclaiming, rebuilding what she could of the motte.




message 32: by Laurel (new)

Laurel Hicks (goodreadscomlaurele) | 200 comments Peregrine wrote: ""I wonder - if I had kept to my motte-and-bailey defences - should I have been a great poet - as you are?" p.502

http://www.historyonthenet.com/Lesson...


Great find!


message 33: by Peregrine (new)

Peregrine | 103 comments Laurele wrote: Great find!

Thanks, Laurele!



message 34: by Peregrine (new)

Peregrine | 103 comments Anna wrote: There is some interesting work on the acceptability of the "boston marriage" . . .

Thanks, Anna! I will check out that link.


message 35: by Peregrine (last edited Sep 17, 2009 07:09PM) (new)

Peregrine | 103 comments Elizabeth wrote: "Yes, we really have a strange perception of the Victorians. The Spinster and Her Enemies Feminism and Sexuality 1800-1930 is an unapologetically feminist argument that the spinsters..."

This is a good movie on American suffrage in 1910. Hilary Swank, Anjelica Huston.

http://www.hbo.com/films/ironjawedang...




message 36: by DJ (new)

DJ  (djdivaofjava) | 223 comments hi I`m new and can`t believe I`ve literally just missed "Possesion"too sad for words!


message 37: by Peregrine (new)

Peregrine | 103 comments DJ wrote: "hi I`m new and can`t believe I`ve literally just missed "Possesion"too sad for words!"

All the discussion threads remain open, so by all means contribute. And welcome!




message 38: by Heidi (new)

Heidi Darcy wrote: "I know! So here's a really weird thing--I was just looking around online about this novel and came across an article that compares the British and American versions. Here's the article, in case any..."

Curious -- Is the ending of the British version different from the American one? Is the British version generally different from the American one, given that editors here thought Americans couldn't handle this or that, or would want this or that?



message 39: by Darcy (new)

Darcy | 232 comments I don't know, but I'm very curious about it. I don't think the American and British versions end differently; elsewhere Byatt states that the American publishers finally agreed to produce her version with (it looks like) only one major narrative alteration (concerning a line about Roland). I'm amazed, though, at how few copies were printed. Byatt says the initial print run was only 7000 copies, although it did end up selling 110,000.

I don't know about the movie, though, which was clearly produced for an American audience.


message 40: by DJ (new)

DJ  (djdivaofjava) | 223 comments Peregrine wrote: "DJ wrote: "hi I`m new and can`t believe I`ve literally just missed "Possesion"too sad for words!"

All the discussion threads remain open, so by all means contribute. And welcome!

"


Hi Peregine-thank you for comment-it`s much appreciated(and made me feel very welcome to the group).


message 41: by Peregrine (new)

Peregrine | 103 comments You're welcome, DJ; looking forward to your posts.


message 42: by TheGirlBytheSeaofCortez (last edited Sep 21, 2009 08:57PM) (new)

TheGirlBytheSeaofCortez (Madly77) Darcy wrote: "No kidding. I knew a professor couple who lived apart for 12 years. They finally got the opportunity to work at the same place and they seriously considered not doing it. After 12 years, you can se..."

I've seen the movie, but the book must be a LOT better because I can barely remember the movie! I might even own the DVD - I'll look tomorrow. I have so many DVDs, I forget which ones I own and which ones I only want to own. I end up buying some twice and giving them away. I do remember I wasn't fond of Gwyneth Paltrow, though she did okay as Maud. I just didn't think the movie had the passion the book had. I felt it was a pretty passionless movie. It didn't move me at all, while the book moved me tremendously. But I honestly can't remember about the ending.

If anyone owns the book with the cover art of flowers and two butterflies, I think that's the most gorgeous cover I've ever seen.




message 43: by Darcy (new)

Darcy | 232 comments Seems like Gwyneth Paltrow would make a good Maud--especially with the blonde hair.


message 44: by Heidi (new)

Heidi I think she WAS good, the problem was her counterpart, Aaron Eckhart (sp). There just wasn't any chemistry between them, and their story was turned into the typical feuding lovers, hollywood style. Now I'm curious to re-view it, though, and try to perceive what didn't work, as I saw it so long ago.


TheGirlBytheSeaofCortez (Madly77) I don't think there was any chemistry between them, either, Heidi, but I didn't enjoy Gwyneth in the role of Maud. I'm just not a fan of hers, I'll admit, though I did like her in "Shakespeare in Love." I don't know any actress who would have "fit" the role of Maud better, though. I have to admit that, too.


message 46: by Heidi (new)

Heidi Probably some english actress -- but she wouldn't have been a commercial name in this country. I still think that she was at least a rational choice (did you ever see her in SLIDING DOORS?) whereas Aaron Eckhart, I couldn't buy as an academic in any way, shape, or form. Actually, picking better actors for movies that were miscast would be a fun thread for Goodreads, don't you think? Except we're about books, not movies...


TheGirlBytheSeaofCortez (Madly77) I think CR has a movie thread, Heidi, so I think it would be okay to start one on miscasts. It would be a lot of fun.

I don't really see Aaron Eckhart as an academic, either, just like I didn't see Hugh Grant as the Prime Minister of England in "Love, Actually" and I ADORE Hugh!

I did not see "Sliding Doors." I saw Gwyneth in the "modern" "Great Expectations" and I was so upset that it wasn't "the" Dickens "Great Expectations." I later remedied that by buying the right DVD. LOL

I don't think any movie could equal the book as far as "Possession" goes. The book was, I think, just too delicate and delicately nuanced.


message 48: by SarahC (new)

SarahC (sarahcarmack) | 1424 comments I agree that it would be hard to make Possession into a movie, especially one that was generally pleasing to all Possession fans, because it is so subtle, like Gabrielle said, and you immerse yourself in those written words.

It is funny about my views on movies though, I am choosy about the type of movies I watch. I want movies that are skillfully and thoughtfully put together, but I kind of like actors who might not seem to be "first pick" for the role. In Aaron Eckhart playing Roland, the character did become different -- more lighthearted and wise maybe, but it didn't detract from the story. I also like that they didn't make him portray British with an artificial accent. Often fiction and movies are about bending the imagination anyway, so why not Americanize the character?

I also like the choice of Eckhardt because he could handle it. He doesn't typically play the traditional hero-type. He has held some pretty unusual roles. I don't think there are enough American male actors who go that route and, if they did, our American movies would be better. Then we wouldn't have to spend so much time searching for British DVDs (not that I wouldn't anyway because who could do without those great and appealing British actors?!)


message 49: by Heidi (new)

Heidi Well, I won't comment on Aaron anymore until I've re-watched the movie. I just know he didn't appeal to me somehow. It wasn't a matter of his being american, it was just that I didn't buy his being into old Victorian stuff. However, I'll see whether the later viewing makes a difference in my opinion.

I never saw the modern "Great Expectations" probably because I sensed I wouldn't like it. But Gwyneth was very good in Sliding Doors -- I highly recommend it.

Lastly, Hugh Grant in "Love Actually" -- well, I didn't buy it either, really, but that was a comedy and a send-up, so it was allright. Whereas Possession was supposed to be more "real".

All for now, but I will re-visit Possession and see what I think. After all these opinions, it should be interesting to see how I respond to it!


TheGirlBytheSeaofCortez (Madly77) I found the DVD on my DVD shelves. I do own it! So, I'll have to watch it again, and like Heidi, see what I think this time around.


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