09 June 2006


I just checked for this movie on Rotten Tomatoes and was rather stunned at the poor reception it got. Victor suggested I see it without him after he read he description on the Netflix wrapper:

…[Plath and Hughes'] marriage was rocky, and they eventually separated in 1963 when Hughes broke her heart by taking on another lover. Crushed, Plath committed suicide by sticking her head in her unlit oven.

Sylvia isn't as bad as all that. The tensions of a romance between writers are well portrayed. But the movie was irritating in its (lack of) analysis of the roots of Plath's depression. Often she just seems like a nutcase. The central relationship is treated as a great love that would have been ideal, if only Ted had been faithful and Sylvia hadn't been bonkers. Ugh.

The film shows none of Plath's humor and little of her intelligence. Upon her marriage to Ted, she becomes a caricature of the jealous wife, with no self-consciousness, which is hard to believe.

Still, Sylvia is worth seeing if you've any interest in Plath or Hughes. Gwyneth Paltrow is a pleasure to watch (amazing how much she looks like her mother, Blythe Danner, in this), and Daniel Craig is magnetic as well.

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