Sylvia (2003) Review

The short life and troubles of poet Sylvia Plath and the relationship and marriage with fellow poet Edward James “Ted” Hughes.


While she was studying at Cambridge in 1956 Sylvia Plath meets Ted Hughes for the first time she was already a little bit in love with him in terms of his writing before even meeting him and it doesn’t take long for her to properly fall for him. He falls in love with her as well but having to deal with a lot more women being enthralled with her now husband was never going to be easy to deal with. We are shown a passionate love that then begins to strain and fall apart with her mental health struggles and neither of them fully being able to deal with how she cannot cope with certain aspects in her life.

Despite having two children to care for not fully having Ted anymore and being very suspicious of his relationships with some of his students drives her well and truly to the edge. He cannot take being accused and we want it not to be true but with his charm and charisma it was only ever going to have one outcome which was a total shame really. The fact that she had tried to commit suicide earlier in her life shows that she has a lot of struggles and the strain of the possible cheating on her really is something that she cannot cope with at all.

The passion created between Gwyneth Paltrow and Daniel Craig is fantastic to watch unfold and they are given some extremely passionate and intimate scenes to work with and let’s face it that is not an easy thing to create on screen. Paltrow gives us a very good performance really creating the character and going through the difficult scenes and emotions that was certainly not easy at all. Daniel Craig is charming and has such an incredible intensity and let’s face it we would all want him right?

Sylvia is a rather difficult story considering the death of Plath happened at a very young age and therefore it is not massively well known, I hadn’t even heard of her prior to watching the film. I guess it all fully depends on what poetry you have read at different times in your life. My knowledge of poetry is what I was taught at GCSE and A Level English Literature and I never came across Plath. So it probably is a film that has not had a huge amount of viewers as biopics and biographical films work better when people have a little bit of an idea about the person it is about.

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