Rated: R for strong sexual content, nudity, adult language, and violence.
Genre: Drama Romance
Directed By: Christine Jeffs
Running Time: 1:50
Review by: Felix Vasquez Jr.
Review Date: 10/10/04
DVD Features:
Theatrical Trailers
If you like this, try: Frida, Possession, Pinero

Click here to buy posters!



While Paltrow does manage to give an inspired performance that shows effort, the problem with "Sylvia" is it romanticizes someone who was obviously stricken with a horrible mental disability. As always, poets and singers who manage to commit suicide are portrayed as people who have done something elegant, a deed such as suicide is portrayed here with such a fantastic and dreamy nature and never does it focus on the sheer extreme results such as misery.

This manages to romanticize suicide and takes a woman who had obviously a mental illness and makes her seem as if suicide was a grand gesture to end her misery when in fact it was just sad. People who may have found Plath's work to be good will either be shocked by her suicide, or, worse, in love with her suicide. This does not focus on the misery she may have experienced during depression and constant suicidal attempts and she was an unfortunate
victim and in a sense this completely skews what attempts the writers had to swoon the audience toward Sylvia Plath.

This also does seem to take liberties with her life as some scenes just felt fabricated and thrown in to romanticize this tragic person even further, scenes that were just melodramatic and never had an impact on the story or the audience. Paltrow doesn't really seem to embody the character of Sylvia nor does she ever seem engrossed in her personality and quirks, she always looks like Paltrow playing someone instead of her becoming someone. The film never really seems as if it wants to bring something new to the poet's legacy, the biographical picture is as it should be and pretty routine with the same usual plot turns which is odd for a true story.

Nonetheless we must wade through countless dialogue that never really seems to be going anywhere and we never learn a lot of the creative process behind Plath's poems, how she
wrote them, why she wrote them, we never learned of her as a child, and it was hard to understand what connection she had to the man downstairs other than crying out for help for someone to talk to her. The actual person of Plath is drowned out by the constant self-indulgent melodrama and droning sequences, either that or Plath was never that interesting a person, or at least that was my assumption while watching due to what results here.

The film seemingly goes nowhere with a plot and dialogue and situations that lead to nowhere and say nothing about Plath and makes the movie more of a melodrama of Plath's life rather than a portrait of her, as well, it focuses more on her personal life, rather than the creation of her poetry and what she struggled through, except it's turned into a romance involving a real person who lived. We don't see an artist here, we only see a lovelorn insecure woman whose life revolved around a man, and whose poetry stemmed from heartbreak, perhaps there could have been more, perhaps we could have seen a lot more of her poetry and in the process would end up recruiting new fans of her, instead it's just melodramatic garbage. In the end, through her final days, we never feel as if we've learned something about her life from watching, we only feel as if we've watched a romance that never had a point.

While Paltrow does manage to give a good performance, "Sylvia" never pulls off the independent life of a poet, yet, in the end just ends up becoming a Holllywood


What did you think? Discuss this film at the Cinema Crazed Forum

Be sure to subscribe to our updates newsletter!

[  Shop Movie Posters  |  Link to Us  |  FAQ  ]