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
After viewing the film on Sylvia Plath, I felt a need to read about this poet and find out exactly what Hollywood did with it. As usual, Hollywood transformed a person's life into what an audience would want to be amused by. Mr. Hughes is personified as a womanizer and adulterer, the later of which may be true. After reading two biographies of Ms. Plath by Linda W. Wagner-Martin and Anne Stevenson and of course having studied Ms. Plath's poetry, I feel that the film, albeit entertaining does not depict her actual identity. It does a marginal account of her life, or part of her life. As any human being, Ms. Plath suffered from many demons. If you ascribe to an astrological standpoint (as Mr. and Mrs. Hughes did) you will find that Sylvia was doomed by her astrological sign, Scorpio. Those of you who are Scorpios know that there is a dark side to this sign. She set her expectations too high of most things and considered the failure of loyalty from her friends and family detrimental. Her experiences with depression only added fuel to the flame. Had she lived in modern times, maybe the newer therapies could have helped her. Depression is a severe affliction and may make a great poet, but for everyday living it can render a person helpless. It can make one helpless with dealing with marriage and children, life in general, and one's occupation. Sylvia Plath was a victim of her depression, her personality overreacting to life and her relationships. Unfortunately, she could not work her way through her inner problems and suffered the result of her mental blockage. Fortunately, for her children, they were unharmed by her mental illness and subsequent actions, and were eventually raised by their father. No one is to blame... no one is superhuman. If standards are set too high for anyone, as Sylvia set for herself, anyone is doomed to failure. We do have her poetry and novel(s) to see her inner self, which no film can properly depict.
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