Obsessed (LaBute)

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German title Obsessed
Original title Possession
Country of production United States , Great Britain
original language English
Publishing year 2002
length 98 minutes
Age rating FSK 12
Director Neil LaBute
script David Henry Hwang
Laura Jones
Neil LaBute
production Len Amato
David Barron
music Gabriel Yared
camera Jean-Yves Escoffier
cut Claire Simpson

Obsessed (Original title: Possession ) is an American - British feature film from 2002. The director was Neil LaBute , the script was written by David Henry Hwang , Laura Jones and Neil LaBute based on the novel Obsessive by AS Byatt . Gwyneth Paltrow and Aaron Eckhart play two literary scholars who research the lives of the poets Christabel LaMotte and Randolph Ash, who had an extramarital relationship. A great deal of closeness develops between the two.


The literary scholars Maud Bailey and Roland Michell research the life of the 19th century English poet Christabel LaMotte. They discover that she had an affair with the married poet Randolph Henry Ash. The love story of LaMotte and Ash is told in flashbacks and, in parallel, that of the modern characters.

In the course of their research, Bailey and Michell get closer to each other in a hotel, but a misunderstanding prevents a night together and reduces the relationship between the two to "good friends". One of the reasons is Maud's fears about relationships, which she only reveals later. The researchers learn that LaMotte lived with her cousin in France for a year and gave birth to a child by Ash during that time, but indicated to Ash that he had killed the child. In reality, it grew up with an adoptive family. This is revealed by LaMotte in a letter that Bailey and Michell find. LaMotte wrote this letter to the terminally ill Ash, in another letter asked Ash's wife to give the letter to her husband, who, however, had passed away before the mail arrived.

Maud regrets that Ash never found out about his child's existence. She also notes that the adoptive family was called Bailey and that she herself is one of the descendants of Christabel LaMotte.

In the last flashback it is shown that Ash actually met his daughter (now about seven years old) by chance and recognized it based on information about her family. He gave her a letter and a message for "Aunt Christabel". However, the girl was distracted on the way home and lost the letter, just as she apparently forgot the message.

Publications and reception

Obsessively started in US cinemas on August 16, 2002 and grossed over ten million US dollars with admissions of over 1.74 million by October. Cinema releases followed in several other countries. While the film was unsuccessful in Great Britain with admissions of around 70,000, it was seen over 172,000 times in Italy, for example, where the film opened on October 4, 2002. The German theatrical release was November 28, 2002.

Critics received the film differently. AO Scott complained in The New York Times that the film was an "honorable and interesting failure". “It falls well short of poetry, but it's not bad prose.” Roger Ebert wrote a positive review of the film for the Chicago Sun-Times . This does not offer a serious test of science or poetry, but an intelligent romance. That both characters are so attractive is confusing.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. a b Lumiere
  2. ^ AO Scott: Poetical Flesh and Blood Proves a Strong Tonic , The New York Times, August 16, 2002
  3. ^ Roger Ebert: Possession , Chicago Sun-Times, August 16, 2002