Parents' Guide to

Possession

By Nell Minow, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Glossy romance with pretty people.

Movie PG-13 2002 103 minutes
Possession Poster Image

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While director Neil LaBute is not able to master the scope of the novel, the result is still fairly smart, satisfying, and fun. LaBute, best known for his harrowing and very contemporary portrayals of bitter, selfish, and manipulative people and abusive relationships in Your Friends and Neighbors and In the Company of Men, was an unexpected choice for this film. It required him to adapt someone else's material, work with settings in another time and place, and portray relationships with genuine respect and intimacy.

This is essentially a high-gloss romance with pretty people falling in love. Forget bodice-ripping -- bodice untying is conclusively shown to be even more voluptuous. But the subtlety and complexity of the novel is lost. There are vestiges about some ambitious thoughts about love, honor, risk, emotional and intellectual precision, and even scholarship, but what remains is a nice date movie, but not much more.

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