Original Release: August 16, 2002 (US)
Directed by: Neil LaBute
Written by: A.S. Byatt, David Henry Hwang, Laura Jones, Neil LaBute
Produced by: Barry Levinson, Paula Weinstein
Running Time: 102 minutes
Box Office: $14,815,898 (Worldwide)
Roland Michell is an American scholar trying to make it in the difficult world of British Academia. He has yet to break out from under his mentor's shadow until he finds a pair of love letters that once belonged to one of his idols, a famous Victorian poet.
Michell, after some sleuthing, narrows down the suspects to a woman not his wife, another well known Victorian poet. Roland enlists the aid of a Dr. Maud Bailey, an expert on the life of the woman in question. Together they piece together the story of a forbidden love affair, and discover one of their own. They also find themselves in a battle to hold on to their discovery before it falls into the hands of their rival, Fergus Wolfe.
Gwyneth Paltrow (Maud Bailey), Aaron Eckhart (Roland Michell), Jeremy Northam (Randolph Henry Ash), Jennifer Ehle (Christabel LaMotte), Holly Aird (Ellen Ash), Toby Stephens (Fergus Wolfe), Trevor Eve (Cropper), Tom Hickey (Blackadder), Georgia Mackenzie (Paola), Tom Hollander (Euan), Graham Crowden (Sir George), Anna Massey (Lady Bailey), Craig Crosbie (Hildebrand), Christopher Good (Crabb-Robinson), Elodie Frenck (Sabine), Shelley Conn (Candi), Richard Heffer (Lord Lytton), Felicity Brangan (Ash's Maid), Holly Earl (May Bailey), Kate O'Toole (Mrs. Jameson), Meg Wynn Owen (Mrs. Lees)
- Lincoln, Lincolnshire, England, UK
- Athenaeum Club, Pall Mall, St. James's, London, England, UK (Public lecture venue)
- Knebworth House, Stevenage, Hertfordshire, England, UK
- Runswick Bay, North Yorkshire, England, UK
- Stonor Park, Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, England, UK
- University, Caen, Calvados, France
- Whitby Abbey Ruins, Whtyby, North Yorkshire, England, UK
- The character names "Maud Bailey" and "Christabel LaMotte" refer to a special form of castle, the Motte-and-Bailey, widespread in the 11th/12th century.
- Ralph Fiennes was offered the role of Randolph Henry Ash.
- Feature film debut of Henry Ian Cusick.
- Aaron Eckhart enters the movie riding on the rear platform of a bus. The vehicle in question is RM 3, the third example ever built, and one of the prototypes, of London's most iconic red bus, the Routemaster.
- Everyone was handling rare, old documents with their bare hands. Anyone doing this kind of research would know to wear gloves to protect the fragile paper.
Golden Trailer Award for Best Romance