100 user 87 critic

Sylvia (2003)

2:21 | Trailer
Story of the relationship between poets Edward James "Ted" Hughes (Daniel Craig) and Sylvia Plath (Gwyneth Paltrow).


Christine Jeffs


John Brownlow (screenplay)
1 win. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
David Birkin David Birkin ... Morecambe
Alison Bruce ... Elizabeth
Amira Casar ... Assia Wevill
Daniel Craig ... Ted Hughes
Blythe Danner ... Aurelia Plath
Lucy Davenport ... Doreen
Julian Firth ... James Michie
Jeremy Fowlds Jeremy Fowlds ... Mr. Robinson
Michael Gambon ... Professor Thomas
Sarah Guyler ... Ted's Cambridge Girlfriend
Jared Harris ... Al Alvarez
Andrew Havill ... David Wevill
Theresa Healey Theresa Healey ... 3rd Woman at Ted Hughes' Lecture
Liddy Holloway Liddy Holloway ... Martha Bergstrom
Robyn Malcolm ... 1st Woman at Ted Hughes' Lecture


In 1956, aspiring American poet Sylvia Plath (Gwyneth Paltrow) meets fellow poet Edward James "Ted" Hughes (Daniel Craig) 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 ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Life was too small to contain her...

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


During some of the filming, Gwyneth Paltrow stayed in Q staircase of Tree Court, Gonville & Caius College as this was only a few minutes away from the mocked-up old street at the back of Caius. See more »


When being connected to a call you used to press button A. You only pressed button B when you were unable to get through and that enabled you to get your money back. See more »


[first lines]
Sylvia: Dying is an art. Like everything else. I do it exceptionally well. I do it so it feels like Hell. I do it so it feels real. I guess you could say I've a call.
See more »

User Reviews

The Life of an incredible poetess
17 December 2004 | by blackpanther04See all my reviews

The movie shows the life of the American poetess Sylvia Plath who committed suicide under extremely grim situations. The movie starts with gregarious, young, boisterous Sylvia very enthusiastic about poetry. She presents her first creation to the world which unfortunately is read by a very few and she gets disappointed by just one review of her writings which comes from Ted who himself is an aspiring young poet. Soon the couple falls in love and within four months stitch to bonds of marriage. Sylvia realizes that her husband is rising high in the sky of success and she remains a housewife. This thought aggrieves her but she takes it to be her fate. Her life goes on without any sort of creation and she gets entangled in between the children and housekeeping. Just when she starts realizing that this is not the life she wanted, there comes a women in her husbands life thereby afflicting her so much that she starts thinking of suicide. She splits with her husband whom she considered the love of her life. She becomes solitudinarian and craves for someone who can take care of her. She tries to call her old friends but everything goes worthless, she even pleads to her husband to leave the other women but in vain. Finally she commits suicide in her room.

For the story part it is pretty simple and the dialogues too weren't effective. The actors too were not much impressive except for Gwyneth Paltrow, who has shown her acting skills in the movie very well. It is she who takes the responsibility of carrying the movie on her shoulders. The soundtrack is an average one. The director has not been able to show the intense aggrieving feelings of Sylvia which led her to the drastic decision. The movie goes on slow and is not able to catch viewer's perception. For those who have been great fans of Sylvia Plath this movie can have some meaning but the others will find it quite boring and waste of time. The visual appeal of the movie was good and director is successful quite often in providing good visual perceptions. However nowhere in the whole movie will you be able to get hold of the idea that Sylvia was under extreme pain. No incidences as such of her pain are shown except for her husband shown getting intimate with the other woman. Her loneliness has not been depicted anywhere in the movie and only some good viewers can imagine what she had in her mind. I think the viewers must not be given too much load to understand things by their own. A bit or some of such things can be handled but not to the extent that the audience gets bored by the idea of thinking again and again to understand things in the movie.

The movie could have been the director's work if it would have been able to show Sylvia Plath's heart but the whole credit for the movie goes to Gwyneth Paltrow for being able to try to show the things director could not have a hold of. The number of characters in the movie is less and it revolves solely round Paltrow so the whole movie does become cumbersome at times.

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Official Sites:

Focus Features





Release Date:

31 October 2003 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Ted and Sylvia See more »

Filming Locations:

Cornwall, England, UK See more »


Box Office


GBP7,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$58,940, 19 October 2003

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

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