The Bell Jar (1979)

R  |   |  Biography, Drama  |  25 October 1979 (Denmark)
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Ratings: 5.7/10 from 182 users  
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Details a young woman's summer in New York working for a Mademoiselle-like magazine, return home to New England, and subsequent breakdown all amidst the horrors of the fifties, from news of... See full summary »



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Credited cast:
Marilyn Hassett ...
Mrs. Greenwood
Buddy Willard
Dr. Nolan
Jay Cee
Donna Mitchell ...
Scott McKay ...
Mr. Gilling
Meg Mundy ...
Bea Ramsey
Carole Monferdini ...
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Ruth Antonofsky ...
Dick Carballo ...
Allan Eisenman ...
Cab driver


Details a young woman's summer in New York working for a Mademoiselle-like magazine, return home to New England, and subsequent breakdown all amidst the horrors of the fifties, from news of the Rosenbergs' execution to sleazy disc jockeys and predatory college boys. Written by Remy <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Sometimes just being a woman is an act of courage.


Biography | Drama


R | See all certifications »




Release Date:

25 October 1979 (Denmark)  »

Also Known As:

Canção para Uma Louca  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


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Did You Know?


Director Larry Peerce and star Marilyn Hassett were married at the time of production. See more »


New York taxis, (unlike L.A. cabs) do not now nor did they ever have their telephone numbers on them. See more »


Version of The Bell Jar See more »


Here Comes The Night
Written and Performed by Janis Ian
Produced by Janis Ian and Ronald Frangipane
Arranged and Conducted by Ronald Frangipane (uncredited)
See more »

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User Reviews

Instead of "Sylvia" see this original movie about Plath
14 January 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This movie is one of the few I actually bought several copies of. Though it is circa 1979, it is not dated, and so much more effective than the recent "Sylvia" film, which is dominated by Gwyneth Paltrow's persona.

Marilyn Hassett plays the principal role, and does an excellent job. She does not overshadow the personality of Sylvia Plath, who was an interesting, conflicted and brilliant individual.

The story follows Sylvia at Smith College, where a young Donna Mitchell ("Mona Lisa Smile" mother to Kirsten Dunst), plays her best friend. The scenery invokes New England autumn, promise and hope. Julie Harris is perfect as Aurelia Plath, Sylvia's mother. We can almost feel Sylvia's disdain, as her mother reminds Sylvia ...""you got nothing but straight A's....oh, except for deportment"... Her mother is always at her, and this mirrors Sylvia's eventual faltering self-image.

The story progresses as she wins a scholarship to NY where ..."ëvery one envied me that summer"... However, there is the fateful backdrop of the Rosenbergs, the Eisenhower era, and Sylvia's doubts about her future. We see fashion shows, jewelry, cosmetics, and the fear Sylvia has of what awaits her. One should also read the book to get her true impressions, which are quite astute, reflecting women's roles in the late 1950's.

Since it was the late 50's Sylvia was expected to marry, but does not see this as a viable solution, indeed it is a hindrance to her writing career. She is on the brink of decision, when she has the ultimate breakdown; I will not delineate the detail, you must watch the brilliantly constructed story, which leads her to her decision. The main issue I liked was that her life was shown, not in conjunction with a man (like the more recent movie) but how SHE was affected, and what life meant to her.

9 of 12 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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