"SYLVIA" (2003) Review
I finally watched "SYLVIA" on DVD. After all I have heard about the movie, I had expected to be disappointed by it. To be truthful, I found it quite interesting biopic that was especially enhanced by the leads' performances. But . . . "SYLVIA" was not a perfect film.
Set between the mid-1950s to the early 1960s, The movie's revelation of the Sylvia Plath/Ted Hughes courtship, followed by their marriage turned out to be very interesting and rather intense. I suspect that many had expected it to take sides in the couple's breakup. To its credit, the movie avoided this route. There were no heroes/heroines and villains/villainesses in their story . . . just two people who had failed to create a successful marriage. In fact, the movie presented the possibility that both Plath and Hughes had contributed their breakup.
To be honest, I think that Gwenyth Paltrow and Daniel Craig's performances as Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes had more to do with the movie's main virtue than the director, Christine Jeffs or the screenwriter, John Brownlow. Also, both Jared Harris as Al Alvarez and Blythe Danner as Aurelia Plath, gave able support. But it is obvious that this movie belonged to Paltrow and Craig, who brought the intensity of the Plath/Hughes marriage with an honesty and rawness that - if I must be honest - I sometimes found hard to bear.
But even those two were not able to save the movie's last half hour from almost sinking into an abyss of unrelenting boredom. I suspect that Jeffs and Brownlow wanted to give the moviegoers an in-depth look at Plath's emotional descent into suicide, following the break-up of her marriage to Hughes. But I wish they could have paced the movie's ending a little better than what had been shown in the movie theaters. The movie's last half hour nearly dragged it to a standstill.
Despite the last half hour, I would still recommend "SYLVIA". In the end, it turned out to be a pretty interesting look into the marriage of the two famous poets. I give it 7 out of 10 stars.