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Sylvia + The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath + The Bell Jar
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Product Details

  • Actors: Gwyneth Paltrow, Daniel Craig, Amira Casar, Alison Bruce, Blythe Danner
  • Directors: Christine Jeffs
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Focus Features
  • DVD Release Date: February 10, 2004
  • Run Time: 110 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (95 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005JMJD
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #21,493 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Sylvia" on IMDb

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  • Editorial Reviews

    Academy Award-Winner Gwyneth Paltrow stars in this powerfully passionate true story of legendary American author and poet, Sylvia Plath. While on a Fulbright Scholarship to England, Sylvia meets Ted Hughes (Daniel Craig), a British poet on the verge of international fame. Following a torrid four month courtship, they marry and embark on an intense relationship. When Ted's subsequent literary success and the attentions of admiring women strains the marriage, Sylvia funnels her fury and passion into her own work which begins to flow forth in unstoppable bursts. This true story of love and tragic passion is "One of the most beautiful films of the year." (New York Observer)

    Customer Reviews

    If only the film had been as passionate, haunting, and beautiful as Plath's poetry, then it would have been truly memorable.
    It should have been called "Sylvia and Ted." It just seemed this movie could have been much more, and so I guess I was bound to be disappointed.
    It's loosely based on the life of poet Sylvia Plath, who was an ecceptional poet and writer, but a very depressed, mentally unstable person.
    Notre Dame Freak

    Most Helpful Customer Reviews

    87 of 92 people found the following review helpful By Jana L. Perskie HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 27, 2004
    Format: DVD
    Director Christine Jeffs manages to strike an evenhanded tone in her biopic "Sylvia," which deals with the last few years in the life of poet Sylvia Plath. Jeffs doesn't place all the blame for Ms. Plath's suffering, deep depression and subsequent suicide on Ted Hughes, (which many Plath fans do), nor does she glorify the poet's pain. However, the complexities of Plath's psyche, illness, motivations and goals, the intricacies of her relationship and marriage to Hughes, and her roles as mother and poet, are short shrifted. I don't know if this flaw is due to the limitations of the medium or to problems with the screenwriting and direction. This is a film about a woman with a suicidal past who writes poetry, loves, marries, becomes depressed, insecure and jealous, has children, is "deceived," falls deeper into depression and turns on the gas - the main character just happens to be Sylvia Plath. I really would have liked to have seen more of an emphasis given to Plath's writing and love of literature. Ms. Plath also placed tremendous importance on parenting her children and often found much pleasure in being a mother and a wife, as well as a poet. This is not evident in the movie.
    Sylvia Plath's story is a desperate and tragic one. However, the movie dwells on her depression to the extent that it appears the writer never had a happy moment after her honeymoon. Even the film's use of color reflects this unhappy mood. Plath dresses in warm colors up until her wedding, after which her clothes and the ambient colors become darker and darker. Her writer's block is clearly shown but her periods of extreme productivity, especially toward the end of her life, when, writing through the nights she poured poetry onto the page with almost manic energy, are not really portrayed.
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    24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Josh Hitchens on August 9, 2004
    Format: DVD
    When Frieda Hughes wrote a poem in protest of this film, she called it "Sylvia Suicide Doll." It turns out that she wasn't that far off. This is a mediocre movie in many respects, and a decent one in others. Overall, it is a misfire.

    Sylvia Plath (Gwyneth Paltrow) was an American poet who found her soul mate in British poet Ted Hughes, played here by Daniel Craig. Sylvia was obsessed with her poetry, and was a little resentful when her husband's star eclipsed hers. Their passionate marriage deteriorates when Hughes cheats on Sylvia and she discovers it, moving with her two children to London. Worn down by depression, Sylvia Plath killed herself in 1963, at the age of thirty, but not before writing the brilliant "Ariel" poems, which secured her place in the canon of American poets.

    Gwyneth Paltrow's performance as Sylvia Plath is the reason to see this movie. She is especially effective in the second part of the film, when Sylvia separates from Ted Hughes and plunges into a deep depression. In these scenes Paltrow looks and acts so much like the real Plath that you get goose bumps. The resemblence is eerie. Paltrow creates a woman desperate for love and recognition, but who dealt with intense suicidal urges all her life. Many people have decided to cast Sylvia Plath as a saint, with Hughes as the devil who drove her to suicide. Paltrow makes it clear that Sylvia's death wish was there from the beginning, and dares to make Plath unlikeable at times. You can understand why Ted Hughes left her, but also sympathize with her as she falls apart. The scene where Sylvia burns the letters that Ted's mistress wrote him makes your heart break. Gwyneth Paltrow gives a very strong, brave performance. It's a tragedy that nearly everything surrounding it is inferior.
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    14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Christopher Schmitz on April 14, 2005
    Format: DVD
    Sylvia Plath is one of the great female poets of all time, in league with Sappho, Emily Dickinson, Elizabeth Bishop, Anne Sexton, and the underrated Louise Gluck. "Ariel" may be the finest book of poems by a woman EVER, vivid, dark, trilling, grisly, and gorgeous. That book, her last, is available in a lovely new hardbound with previous drafts and interesting information.

    Get that, rather than this film, because the filmmakers were barred from quoting very much of her poetry or excerpting lines from her best novel "The Bell Jar," and without her powers of the written word on display, we don't know why a movie about Sylvia Plath would even be made.

    All we have is a dysfunctional woman succumbing to suicidal depression. Poets' lives are seldom impressive; it's their work we remember! See "As Night Falls" for a much better example of a poet bio-pic; it has a far more interesting plot and is soaked in the man's vibrant poetry.
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    16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Gina Miller on February 27, 2004
    Format: DVD
    I have been waiting to see this movie since I first heard it was in production. As someone who writes herself, I have long admired the mesmerizing, exposed, raw depth that is Sylvia's talent. Sylvia's poems (and life), move the on looker deep inside of her core in such a way that no other can do. This was not captured in the movie. This movie was a surface display that skims the honesty and history of Sylvia. It's as if the director was provided a "summary" of Sylvia's life (and only part of her life, her life with Ted) and stretched that summary out for an hour and fifty minutes. The movie was slow and this could have been avoided if more of her life was explored. To see the essence of Sylvia, you need to see her earlier years (her childhood, her father and mother, her hospital stay, her internship, The Bell Jar) and delve inside of her mind and her need to purge through her writings. There was also an evolution in the development of Sylvia's poems, in her real life, that the movie completely by passed. Her poems initially were written with the aide of a thesaurus and tended to be classic and calculated, while the final poems, written before her death came pouring out in shorter, smashing truth. Her best poems written at her deepest point. There is a creative story to be told her then, as well. Her poems growth, tell multiple stories in themselves. I learned nothing new, and in fact mostly noticed what was missing. The movie was emotional, but too direct as to why (there was more to the why). Any movie that has such an ending, would touch the viewer. However, it was actually my prior knowledge of Sylvias demise that moved me through the movie, not the movie itself. Those who view this movie without that prior knowledge are not experiencing her story in the fullness. I hope one day a movie is made about Sylvia the at least _tries_ to capture the many faceted dimensions of her whole life and the haunting vulnerability of her work.
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