MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Up 694 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 8,068 users   Metascore: 56/100
Reviews: 95 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...

On Disc

at Amazon

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 30 titles
created 20 Nov 2011
 
a list of 44 titles
created 23 Sep 2012
 
a list of 23 titles
created 11 Feb 2013
 
a list of 31 titles
created 06 Aug 2013
 
a list of 34 titles
created 12 Sep 2013
 

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... 

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
The Bell Jar (1979)
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

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 »

Director: Larry Peerce
Stars: Marilyn Hassett, Julie Harris, Jameson Parker
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 young peasant maid working in the house of painter Johannes Vermeer becomes his talented assistant and the model for one of his most famous works.

Director: Peter Webber
Stars: Scarlett Johansson, Colin Firth, Tom Wilkinson
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

The Hotel Splendide is on a remote and cold island, accessible only by a once-a-month ferry. It's a dark and dreary spa created by the late Dame Blanche, whose grown children now run the ... See full summary »

Director: Terence Gross
Stars: Toni Collette, Daniel Craig, Katrin Cartlidge
Love & Rage (2000)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.4/10 X  

Agnes MacDonnell (Greta Scacchi), a strong and self-confident Englishwoman in her forties, owns a large estate on an island off the coast of Northern Ireland. When she begins a passionate ... See full summary »

Director: Cathal Black
Stars: Greta Scacchi, Daniel Craig, Stephen Dillane
Infamous (2006)
Biography | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

While researching his book In Cold Blood, writer Truman Capote develops a close relationship with convicted murderers Dick Hickock and Perry Smith.

Director: Douglas McGrath
Stars: Toby Jones, Daniel Craig, Sandra Bullock
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
Possession (2002)
Romance | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

A pair of literary sleuths unearth the amorous secret of two Victorian poets only to find themselves falling under a passionate spell.

Director: Neil LaBute
Stars: Gwyneth Paltrow, Aaron Eckhart, Jeremy Northam
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
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
The Mother (2003)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A grandmother has a passionate affair with a man half her age, who is also sleeping with her daughter.

Director: Roger Michell
Stars: Daniel Craig, Anna Wilson-Jones, Anne Reid
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 | depression | 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

Most of the extras in the opening scenes in Cambridge were, like Sylvia Plath herself, students of the University of Cambridge. See more »

Goofs

When Ted Hughes says "It reminds me of my days in Mytholmroyd" he doesn't pronounce it correctly, saying "MITH-um-royd" instead of "MY-thum-royd". 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 »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

OK bio but misses some of the spirit of the subject
22 November 2004 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

What is it about an artist dying young - particularly if it is at his or her own hands - that strikes such a deep chord in so many of us? Is it the fact that this rare and special person achieves a kind of mastery of fate at the last moment, a perfect conclusion to this messy business of life that we mere mortals can never hope to attain? Could it be that this early death is just one more instance of an artist taking the elements of raw reality and transforming them into something stylized, transcendent and meaningful for the rest of us to brood over and contemplate? When poet and novelist Sylvia Plath committed suicide in 1963, she became the archetype of the tortured artist - particularly for sensitive young people who came to romanticize her end and her suffering in ways that lifted her and her work to iconic status.

The biopic, entitled simply 'Sylvia,' gets the 'tortured' part pretty much right, but has considerably less success with the 'artist.'

The film focuses mainly on the tumultuous relationship between Plath and her husband of eight years, famed poet Ted Hughes. The story begins in 1956 with their love-at-first-sight meeting when they were both students at Cambridge University. The film moves quickly through the years, showing how, after a short period of relative marital bliss, Ted's philandering began to take its toll on the relationship. As portrayed in the movie, Sylvia, despite her notable talent, is a mass of neuroses and insecurities, always toiling in the shadows of her (initially at least) much more well known and commercially successful husband. But her feelings of inadequacy and jealousy over Ted's infidelities cannot, in and of themselves, entirely account for her paranoia, her outbursts of anger and her suicidal tendencies. Those resulted mainly from the clinical depression that tormented the woman from the time of her father's death early in her childhood to her own tragic end. The movie sidesteps the electroshock therapy Plath underwent at various times in her life (though it very subtly hints at them), yet the film still manages to convey just how great a victim she was of this disease she could not overcome.

Thanks to John Brownlow's rather singlemindedly depressing screenplay, there's a tremendous feeling of sadness hovering over the film. Director Christine Jeffs brings a raw intensity to many of the confrontation scenes involving the pain-wracked, benighted couple. As Sylvia and Ted, Gwyneth Paltrow and Daniel Craig give rich, moving and sensitive performances, and Michael Gambon leaves his mark as a sympathetic neighbor who tries but does not succeed at saving Sylvia.

If there is a flaw in 'Sylvia,' it is one common to films that attempt to portray the lives of artists, particularly writers. Although a scenarist can dramatize the details of an artist's life, it is virtually impossible for him to capture the richness and power of the art itself in the different medium of film. We never get the sense of how Sylvia either overcomes the difficulties of her life to succeed in her writing or how she uses those difficulties to enhance her art. What we do get is a few shots of Sylvia sitting in front of a typewriter, a comment or two about a book that has been or is soon to be published, a few references to critical reviews, and a smattering of voice-over recitations of Plath's poetry. What we don't get and what it is virtually impossible for film to capture is the essence of the writing itself. For this, one needs to return to the source material, the works that have lived on after the woman herself all these years. If the movie inspires new people to explore Sylvia Plath's writing, it will not have been in vain


56 of 58 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
Is anyone else...? okiram
Discuss Sylvia (2003) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?