Sylvia

2003

Biography / Drama / Romance

6
IMDb Rating 6.3 10 10352

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Synopsis


Uploaded By: FREEMAN
February 20, 2021 at 05:50 PM

Cast

Daniel Craig as Ted Hughes
Jared Harris as Al Alvarez
Gwyneth Paltrow as Sylvia Plath
Michael Gambon as Professor Thomas
720p.WEB 1080p.WEB
1006.02 MB
1280*714
English 2.0
R
23.976 fps
1 hr 49 min
P/S 14 / 34
2.02 GB
1920*1072
English 5.1
R
23.976 fps
1 hr 49 min
P/S 11 / 41

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by lawprof 9 / 10

A Hijacked Life and an Insightful Biopic

Film biographies of cultural figures - art, music, literature - differ from those focused on great events and the men and women who either led others or contributed to the hallmarks of history. For a start, figures in the arts have nowhere near the broad drawing power of, say, a General Patton whose controversial larger than life war record is placed in a setting where there are many other important figures, all engaged in very documented and perennially debated actions.

In 1998, "Hilary and Jackie" explored alleged episodes in the short life of cellist Jacqueline Du Pre and her pianist, now also conductor, husband, Daniel Barenboim. Despite very very good acting the film was largely a descent into the basement of scurrilous storytelling by relatives of the dead musician. Whatever the truth of the claim that she bedded her sister's husband, the movie said nothing about the couple's meteorically brilliant early careers. It was slanted voyeurism writ large.

Director Christine Wells has taken a very different and insightful tack in exploring the life of poet Sylvia Plath and her marriage to Ted Hughes, a poet with laurels garnered while Ms. Plath was still starting up a not very steady ladder to recognition.

Plath, an American, met Hughes in England. A short courtship was followed by marriage and then two children. The relationship was tumultuous and eventually it foundered because of Sylvia's underlying emotional instability followed by her husband's desertion to another woman.

Sylvia had tried suicide at least once before meeting Hughes and she succeeded in 1963, not that many years after they met. Whatever fame she achieved in her life has been eclipsed by what can only be described as a cottage industry of people studying her relationship with Hughes, an activity more important to some than her very fine poems and her most famous book, a novel, "The Bell Jar." In short, the real Sylvia Plath, whoever she was, has been hijacked.

Wells takes a sympathetic view of Ted and Sylvia, not joining in the political debate over feminism and Sylvia's supposed maltreatment by Ted. Sylvia in this film is brilliant but also terribly brittle and her inner demons are not caused by a brutish or callous husband. As Platrow portrays her, I believe accurately, Sylvia was seriously and chronically depressed with life events worsening but in no regard initiating a downward spiral. Today she would probably thrive and be both prolific as a poet and happy as a person if successfully maintained on an effective anti-depressant.

Ted, played by Daniel Craig, is a bit transparent - loving but somewhat distanced by his own quest for fame. He hectors Sylvia to write more, annoyed that she bakes instead of composing verse while on a seaside vacation. He's supportive but also blind to the deepening reality that he is dealing with a woman who needs help, not critical comments about non-productivity.

The supporting cast is fine but this is Paltrow and Craig's film. She has a strong affinity for England and its culture (I believe she has moved there) and she gives the role deep conviction and understanding. It happens that she somewhat resembles Sylvia but the true recognition is internal and intellectual. And emotional, let's not omit that.

Hughes essentially inherited his wife's estate and there's no question that he, like Daniel Barenboim after Jacqueline Du Pre's death, received a mixed blessing. He superintended the posthumous publication of "Ariel," one of Sylvia's most enduring legacies. A man who only wanted to be a first-rate poet, he became (and still is post mortem) the subject of arguments as to his treatment of Sylvia and his responsibility for her taking her life.

"Sylvia" sets the record straight as Paltrow acts the part of a woman - mother as well as poet - who slowly loses control of her life while her husband reacts first with confusion and later with the self-protective armor of withdrawal.

Hughes went on to publish many fine poems and he became poet laureate of England, a post he definitely wanted and enjoyed (Hughes was one of the very few modern and relatively young intellectuals who was a convinced monarchist).

Not long before succumbing to cancer, Hughes published "Birthday Letters," an attempt to show through years of verse the nature of his relationship with Sylvia. Whether viewed as an apologia or a last record - and chance - to give his side, it's an impressive work. And "Ariel's Gift" by Erica Wagner is must reading for those who want more than a film and sometimes potted articles can provide. It analyzes the poets' relationship through the prism of Hughes's writings, most unpublished before "Birthday Letters." A recent book, "Her Husband: Hughes and Plath, Portrait of a Marriage," by Diane Middlebrook, is also recommended.

Incidentally, the film accurately shows Sylvia's suicide preparations which included putting breakfast next to her little kids' beds before opening their window wide and sealing their door so the gas she employed to dispatch herself wouldn't harm them. I've read articles where her adulators remark on this as evidence of her loving and solicitous nature. Rubbish. The gas supplied at that time would have blown the whole building sky high if anyone, through ringing a doorbell or smoking a cigarette, had introduced a spark into her flat. Anyone surviving such a suicide attempt under those facts would surely be prosecuted today.

The film score is very intrusive, signaling when important things are happening. The dialogue and Paltrow and Craig's faces do that very well.

9/10.

Reviewed by just-me 10 / 10

Life imitating art... or just art?

So intense ... Ms. Paltrow does not let your eye leave her from the moment she enters the frame... moment by moment she projects her feelings thoughts... almost painful to watch at times... you almost feel like you are watching Paltrow herself unravel on screen (boat on the ocean. I love Plath and I love Paltrow as Plath... she is heartbreaking and haunting just like the poetry the real Sylvia wrote. She unlike most actresses becomes a character and she became Sylvia Plath.

Reviewed by loveandrevolutions 4 / 10

Start From the Beginning.

When I rented this movie, I thought it would be about Sylvia's entire life, or at least starting from her days at Smith College. I didn't realize that her marriage with Ted Hughes would be the entire storyline. I think this movie would've been better had they shown more about Plath's life BEFORE Ted Hughes. For people who don't really know much about Plath and her poetry, understanding her life before Hughes would've made the film much more substantial. The audience has to realize that Plath led a very, very hard mental life even before she met Hughes, and her ideas for her poetry and 'The Bell Jar' mostly originated from her bachelorette days. She never recovered from her depression as a young woman and it branched out still as she married Hughes. Without understanding Plath from the beginning hinders the audience from understanding Plath at all.

I feel like the movie only told half the story. Plath's mind was beautiful, colorful, and brilliant. It wasn't just about the jealousy, depression, and paranoia. Putting her works on the back burner really took away most of this movie. I would've liked to see more narration by Plath and giving us an insight into her mind, the way her unabridged journals do. However, I really enjoyed the dialogue of this movie; the lines were poetic and beautiful.

Unfortunately, I am still waiting for a better Sylvia Plath movie. I recommend people to read 'The Bell Jar' and 'Ariel' before or after seeing this movie though.

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