Sylvia - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Sylvia Reviews

Page 1 of 23
½ March 15, 2016
Looking at the troubled life of poet Sylvia Plath, from her marriage to her death. There is an element of voyeurism in the Sylvia cult, and it's hard to convey the mind of a poet, or the causes of depression within a movie. But this film is sensitive and thoughtful, and Gwyneth Paltrow shines in a role that seems tailor-made for her. Ted's character is less detailed, and I had to wonder how accurately events had been depicted. But it does evoke the conflict between love and art very powerfully,and left me wanting to read Sylvia's poetry again and again.
May 2, 2015
So flat. So terrible.
January 19, 2015
It's almost heartbreaking but it isn't. Gwyneth Paltrow was ok but I expected much more. Daniel Craig was unlikeable as usual but its production design is decent I suppose but the film lags, failing its potential as a good movie. The story of Sylvia Plath is one that is very tragic as one would know if you read the Bell Jar but Ted and Sylvia just doesn't make that cut and it's a real shame.
½ October 11, 2014
Not a great film but a very interesting documentary, hence the positive review
½ June 20, 2014
Someday, somebody will make a really great movie about Sylvia Plath.
January 23, 2014
Gweneth was amazing in this bio and probably the reason I stuck with it. Very dark, dry in places and sad throughout. Why were all the rooms in every house she lived in painted glossy dark grey? On a plus Daniel Craig gets naked.01/13
½ August 16, 2013
Should be called Ted and Sylvia. It concentrates more on her marriage than anything else, there is no deviation from them, its almost like Sylvia had no friends always alone. Paltrow I thought was exceptional shame about the script
August 13, 2013
Yes, this movie had some issues. The sound editing was lacking, the music was overly dramatic, and some of the scenes were confusing. However, as a Sylvia Plath fan I found the movie very interesting and it did wonderful job making me care about the main characters. There were certainly some heartrending scenes in this movie that will keep it memorable in my mind.
July 24, 2013
July 16, 2013
Gwenith Paltrow completely carries the film, but when a performance is that good, it's not too horrible of a thing. But in the end, I kind of wish there was more to it.
May 3, 2013
I wish the movie would have shown more of her life, but I do feel it did a good job of showing her poetic side.
February 6, 2013
Slow paced, slightly depressing and definitely melancholic. Some criticism has arisen over the focus of the film; being her relationship with Hughes and not solely on her career as a Poet. Whilst the filmmakers could have broaden the scope of the film to look at many different factions of her life I enjoyed this particular one for what it was. Paltrow is an interesting though not necessarily bad choice for the role, she seems to do the best with what she has. Definitely not a classic but perhaps worth a look if this sort of film interests you.
December 7, 2012
Would like to get round to seeing!
December 5, 2012
Sylvia: You probably just think I'm some ghastly American bitch, don't you?
Professor Thomas: God no, I thought you were Canadian.
October 29, 2012
This is a remarkable little movie that uses its cinematography to great effect, combining sharp contrasts of light and shadow to underline the isolation of its characters, and some of the most vibrant colors I have ever seen to offset the tragedy of their actions. Those looking for a deep biopic of the late great poet Sylvia Plath will be disappointed, but as a moody piece of melodrama it is generally well-made. The performances are also quite solid; Daniel Craig co-stars as Plath's destructively distant husband and soul mate Edward Hughes, but Gwyneth Paltrow really carries the film as the brilliant but hopelessly depressed poet.

The story follows Sylvia and Ted through the aftermath of their spontaneous relationship, the stifling jealousy and obsessive paranoia resulting from literary recognition, Ted's adultery and Sylvia's eventual progression from angsty nihilism to full-blown suicidal shut-in. We also witness the curious and unexpected effects their decisions have on their family and friends. This is a wise film. It's implied but never implicitly stated that artists might make poor lovers because they sap each other's inspiration, or perhaps one might sap the inspiration from the other, intangibly destroying them from the inside out. I was relieved that the film refrained from overly demonizing Hughes's cruelty but instead portrayed him as a man overreacting to a situation he is unable to cope with.

These people are not insane, they are just really sad. They love each other, but they love the fevered muse of poetry more. It is a crutch they have adapted to face the cruel realities of the world. Sylvia is a devoted, well-meaning woman but her intensely defeatist personality-- born from the death of her father and a failed childhood suicide-- is too much for her husband to bare. It was so sad to see him close himself off in the last part of the movie, denying Sylvia her last chance for emotional support. Both are too busy crafting words to care about pretty concepts like feminism or parenthood. Sylvia contemplates cheating on Hughes as one might consider ordering fast-food, and dismisses the idea just as fleetingly. As romantic poets go the two fall madly in love and take a shot at domesticity out of a sense of ingrained obligation to that love, but as artists they have no choice but to take shelter in their own words when all of it starts to unravel.

Some scenes could have been a little bit longer (I hate it when a movie builds up a series of moments only to fade away seconds later) but there is a lot of ground to cover. The parts involving the generation of poetry are very well done, and the movie never over embellishes them to the point of pretentiousness. Some of the dialogue is just beautiful. I loved Sylvia's many transcendent epiphanies throughout the movie. At one point she confides in dismay to a friend a fact of life that many a drunken Russian novelist discovered long ago: if you dwell too long on your own fear you will make your fear come true. Paltrow is a great actress and some of her expressions, particularly when Edward does something to hurt her, just about broke my heart. The scene at the very end when she knocks on her landlord's door is fascinating.

Many viewers seem to misinterpret this as a "downer" movie because of the depressive states of the characters. But Sylvia's eventual suicide is not the point of the movie. It is established as an inevitability early in the film, and from history. Since we already know the outcome the film doesn't waste our time with false optimism, instead opting for a dread mood that finds inspiration in the character's struggles. Loss and despair spur the artists to action, as most of the best work on the planet is born from pain and fire. I applaud Sylvia for not glossing that over. The scenes of intimacy between the two are exhilarating, not just because Paltrow and Craig are easy on the eyes, but because it is passion born of longing, it is sustenance for the soul.

This one might be a little racy for the classrooms, and as mentioned before the pacing is a little shaky mostly due to the pacing of the scenes themselves. It is however a gorgeously filmed movie and anyone with a mature appreciation for how art imitates life, and vise-versa, should check it out. I knew next to nothing about the two leads going in but emerged with a greater appreciation for their lives and craft.
October 26, 2012
With plenty of time and research, I probably could write a better script. Paltrow did alright. You can tell she loves Plath.
September 9, 2012
A depresing movie. It's a shame that the movie didn't tell much about her works and, instead, was focusing too much on her marriage.
½ September 7, 2012
portaying Sylvia Plath this vain as a depressed housewife should be a crime!
September 6, 2012
One of my favorite poets of all time.
August 17, 2012
I watched it because I am interested in Sylvia Plath... not because I wanted to watch a melodrama. The film is both shallow and emotional at the same time... It focuses on the dysfunction of a relationship to a fault, ignoring the need to develop the main character as a writer. Yes, we saw her writing. I think we heard her read all of three lines of her work. Not a lot of insight here into the woman... Poorly written. Too bad for the actors, who were forced to attempt to polish a turd.
Page 1 of 23