- 1 hr 50 min
Sylvia is a 2003 biographical drama film that follows the life and career of the poet Sylvia Plath. The film stars Gwyneth Paltrow in the lead role and Daniel Craig as her husband, fellow poet Ted Hughes. The story takes place in the 1950s and 60s and covers the period of Plath's life leading up to her suicide in 1963 at the age of 30. The film explores Plath's early years as a student at Smith College in Massachusetts and her struggle to find her voice as a writer. She meets Ted Hughes at a party and is immediately drawn to him, despite his questionable reputation. They soon begin a passionate and tumultuous relationship that becomes the defining element of both their lives and, ultimately, their downfall.
As Plath's career takes off, she becomes increasingly consumed by her work and her ambition to be recognized as a great poet. She struggles with feelings of inadequacy and is plagued by bouts of depression. Meanwhile, Hughes' infidelity and his own literary aspirations put a strain on their marriage.
The film is beautifully shot and features stunning visuals that capture the romance and tragedy of Plath's life. Paltrow delivers a powerful performance as the tortured poet, capturing both her charisma and her inner turmoil. Craig is also excellent as Hughes, portraying him as a complex and flawed character who is both charismatic and destructive.
One of the strengths of the film is the way it explores the gender politics of Plath's time. Despite her talent as a writer, Plath is often dismissed or belittled by the male-dominated literary establishment. She also struggles to reconcile her ambition with the societal expectations placed on women at the time. The film does an excellent job of showing how these external pressures contribute to Plath's mental health struggles.
Overall, Sylvia is a powerful and moving depiction of the life of one of the most important poets of the 20th century. It is a poignant exploration of art, love, and mental illness that will stick with viewers long after the credits roll.