© Solo Film Verleih GmbH

U.K. 2003

Opening 6 Jan 2005

Directed by: Christine Jeffs
Writing credits: John Brownlow
Principal actors: Gwyneth Paltrow, Daniel Craig, Jared Harris, Blythe Danner, Michael Gambon

How difficult is life for a young woman in a foreign country with two small children and no support? It’s hard enough, and for a complicated personality, that’s all it takes to turn on the gas. Gwyneth Paltrow is believable as young, blond, American poet Sylvia Plath on a Fulbright Scholarship in Cambridge. She is captivated by British poet Ted Hughes (Daniel Craig) in 1956. After their marriage, they move to the East Coast of the United States near Plath’s hometown, but this experiment in international living fails; Plath suffers writer’s block. They return to England and, in spite of some career successes for both, the grind of day-to-day life drives them apart. Plath had a record of attempted suicides, a difficult relationship with her mother, and an unhealthy jealousy, often well-founded due to Hughes’ extramarital affairs. The film realistically portrays the life of a young woman in the early 1960s, but rarely discusses the poetry of Plath or Ted Hughes except for cozy scenes of them reciting to each other and their friends. There is passing mention of Sylvia Plath’s two publications, The Colossus and The Bell Jar. She committed suicide on February 11, 1963, at age 30. Director Christine Jeffs’ film is an introduction to the person of Sylvia Plath, which should arouse your curiosity to learn more. It would be worth the effort, especially now that the deceased’s estate has relinquished its 30-year hold on research material and we could expect much about Sylvia Plath in the future. (Becky Tan)

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