MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Down 112 this week

Sylvia (2003)

6.3
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 6.3/10 from 7,775 users   Metascore: 56/100
Reviews: 94 user | 82 critic | 40 from Metacritic.com

Story of the relationship between the poets Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath.

Director:

Writer:

(screenplay)
Watch Trailer
0Check in
0Share...

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 38 titles
created 02 May 2011
 
a list of 44 titles
created 31 Aug 2011
 
a list of 43 titles
created 23 Sep 2012
 
a list of 40 titles
created 9 months ago
 
a list of 38 titles
created 3 months ago
 

Related Items

Search for "Sylvia" on Amazon.com

Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: Sylvia (2003)

Sylvia (2003) on IMDb 6.3/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Sylvia.

User Polls

1 win. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Julie & Julia (2009)
Biography | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Julia Child's story of her start in the cooking profession is intertwined with blogger Julie Powell's 2002 challenge to cook all the recipes in Child's first book.

Director: Nora Ephron
Stars: Amy Adams, Meryl Streep, Chris Messina
Becoming Jane (2007)
Biography | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A biographical portrait of a pre-fame Jane Austen and her romance with a young Irishman.

Director: Julian Jarrold
Stars: Anne Hathaway, James McAvoy, Julie Walters
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

An unemployed single mother becomes a legal assistant and almost single-handedly brings down a California power company accused of polluting a city's water supply.

Director: Steven Soderbergh
Stars: Julia Roberts, Albert Finney, David Brisbin
Frida (2002)
Biography | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A biography of artist Frida Kahlo, who channeled the pain of a crippling injury and her tempestuous marriage into her work.

Director: Julie Taymor
Stars: Salma Hayek, Alfred Molina, Geoffrey Rush
Iris I (2001)
Biography | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

True story of the lifelong romance between novelist Iris Murdoch and her husband John Bayley, from their student days through her battle with Alzheimer's disease.

Director: Richard Eyre
Stars: Judi Dench, Jim Broadbent, Kate Winslet
Bright Star (2009)
Biography | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

The three-year romance between 19th-century poet John Keats and Fanny Brawne near the end of his life.

Director: Jane Campion
Stars: Abbie Cornish, Ben Whishaw, Paul Schneider
Biography | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A historical drama that illustrates Russian author Leo Tolstoy's struggle to balance fame and wealth with his commitment to a life devoid of material things.

Director: Michael Hoffman
Stars: Helen Mirren, James McAvoy, Christopher Plummer
The Lover (1992)
Biography | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

In 1929 French Indochina, a French teenage girl embarks on a reckless and forbidden romance with a wealthy, older Chinese man, each knowing that knowledge of their affair will bring drastic consequences to each other.

Director: Jean-Jacques Annaud
Stars: Jane March, Tony Leung Ka Fai, Frédérique Meininger
Biography | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

The passionate Merchant-Ivory drama tells the story of Francoise Gilot, the only lover of Pablo Picasso who was strong enough to withstand his ferocious cruelty and move on with her life.

Director: James Ivory
Stars: Anthony Hopkins, Natascha McElhone, Julianne Moore
Biography | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Antwone Fisher, a young navy man, is forced to see a psychiatrist after a violent outburst against a fellow crewman. During the course of treatment a painful past is revealed and a new hope begins.

Director: Denzel Washington
Stars: Denzel Washington, Derek Luke, Joy Bryant
Shadowlands (1993)
Biography | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

C.S. Lewis, a world-renowned Christian theologian, writer and professor, leads a passionless life until he meets a spirited poet from the U.S.

Director: Richard Attenborough
Stars: Anthony Hopkins, Debra Winger, Julian Fellowes
Biography | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A Venetian courtesan becomes a hero to her city, but later becomes the target of an inquisition by the Church for witchcraft.

Director: Marshall Herskovitz
Stars: Catherine McCormack, Rufus Sewell, Oliver Platt
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
David Birkin ...
Morecambe
Alison Bruce ...
Elizabeth
...
Assia Wevill
...
...
Lucy Davenport ...
Doreen
Julian Firth ...
James Michie
Jeremy Fowlds ...
Mr. Robinson
...
Professor Thomas
...
Ted's Cambridge Girlfriend
...
...
David Wevill
Theresa Healey ...
3rd Woman at Ted Hughes' Lecture
Liddy Holloway ...
Martha Bergstrom
...
1st Woman at Ted Hughes' Lecture
Edit

Storyline

In 1956, aspiring American poet Sylvia Plath meets fellow poet Edward Ted Hughes at Cambridge, where she is studying. Enthralled with the genius of his writing, Sylvia falls in love with him even before meeting him, and he quickly falls in love with her. They eventually marry. Sylvia quickly learns that others are also enthralled with her husband, for a combination of his good looks, charisma, fame and success. Sylvia lives in her husband's professional shadow as she tries to eke out her own writing career, which doesn't come as naturally to her as it does to Ted. She also suspects him of chronic infidelity. Both issues affect Sylvia's already fragile emotional state, she who once tried to commit suicide earlier in her life. Through her pain and her anger, she does gain minor success as a writer, with a completed semi-autobiographical novel and a few well received collection of poems. Following, she tries to regain some happiness in her life with Ted, but has an alternate plan if that... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

poet | love | writing | infidelity | insecurity | See more »

Taglines:

Life was too small to contain her...


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for sexuality/nudity and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Official Sites:

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

30 January 2004 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Ted and Sylvia  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

£7,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$12,583 (Hong Kong) (25 June 2004)

Gross:

$12,583 (Hong Kong) (25 June 2004)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The first film in which real-life mother and daughter Blythe Danner and Gwyneth Paltrow play mother and daughter (Aurelia and Sylvia Plath) respectively. Danner and Paltrow previously starred together in _Cruel Doubt (1991) (TV)_, but not as mother and daughter. See more »

Goofs

When Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath are in bed together and she is discussing her suicide attempt, you can clearly see Daniel Craig's tattoo through the make up on his shoulder and 'Gwyneth Paltrow (I)''s hair net to which her wig is attached. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Sylvia: Sometimes I dream the tree, and the tree is my life. One branch is the man I shall marry, and the leaves my children. Another branch is my future as a writer, and each leaf is a poem. Another branch is a good academic career. But as I sit there trying to choose, the leaves bring to turn brown and blow away, until the tree is absolutely bare.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Music by Gabriel Yared (2007) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
More kitchen sink melodrama than famous poet biopic
2 February 2004 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

What makes poetry a special art form? Answers might include bringing together extremes of joy and despair within a couple of lines, offering an alternative to rational thought, enriching our outlook and understanding in ways that prose would struggle to equal. Poetry can provide a single phrase or sentence that is easily remembered and somehow unlocks difficult-to-express inner states, just as a song can (and poetry is the basis of songs). It offers a freedom of expression where you don't need to explain every aspect of what you are saying - it urges the listener to grasp a semi-spoken truth or idea.

That's my rough guess. I've got over 40 books of poetry on my bookshelf at the last count, yet I'm no literary expert and appreciate poetry in a very simple way. Most people might agree that poetry offers something special, so a film celebrating the life of a famous poet might be expected to bring us a glimmer of that something.

Sylvia Plath has been championed not only as a poet but as a sort of ‘feminist' – a cry on behalf of women treated as a commodity, subjugated by an unfair male-dominated system. Cast in the lead role, Gwyneth Paltrow's Plath focuses much attention on how downtrodden she was, chained to two children, overshadowed by a brilliant and celebrated Ted Hughes, struggling with bitterness, jealousy, mental instability and a less than attractive persona. We also get the occasional poetic outburst, from who-can-recite-poetry-fastest undergrad shenanigans to romanticised performances of Chaucer (addressed to an audience of watching cows whilst floating downstream in a boat). All punctuated with soft-focus shots of a naked Plath/Paltrow, hysterical and often violent outbursts at Hughes, and scenes of a generally uninteresting and uninspiring life of moderate wretchedness. The only thing that distinguishes Sylvia from the now-unfashionable kitchen sink drama is that its central character is called Sylvia Plath.

So is the film worthy of the title? In A Beautiful Mind, we learnt of the joy of mathematics, Lunzhin Defence championed the addictive mysteries of chess, and Dead Poets Society made us lift our eyes to literary horizons that could inspire the dullest of minds. Sylvia was limited, perhaps, by the refusal of her daughter to allow much of Plath's poetry to be used in the film but, for whatever reason, it has failed to be more than a rather humdrum biopic. It offers little insight into her poetry or the magic of poetry generally, and adds little of interest about the historical figure that doesn't apply to millions of women. If any deep philosophical statement can be drawn from this, the film certainly doesn't make it, poetically or otherwise. Sadly, it would seem that the words of Sylvia Plath's daughter almost became a self-fulfilling prophecy: "Now they want to make a film . .. They think I should give them my mother's words . . . To fill the mouth of their monster . . . Their Sylvia Suicide Doll." Whilst not quite an empty doll, Sylvia is maybe an arm or leg short of a manikin.


22 of 29 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
frieda hughes: 'mother' a poem about the film. blue_stripy_moose
this movie sucked Shockley86
portrayal of ted hughes fabiolatibz
Sympathy for Sylvia carrie@cgraham.com
Incredibly ignored underrated film shneebette
her eyes? mis_lis
Discuss Sylvia (2003) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?