I must admit to mixed feelings on Sylvia, a film about the American poet Sylvia Plath. There’s not much of Path’s poetry included and no poems from her husband Ted Hughes. I understand that their daughter, the poet and painter Frieda Hughes, refused permission. She felt the producers were “voyeuristically raking over the ashes of her mother’s death.” What poetry is quoted includes: “Dying is an art … I do it exceptionally well …” from Ariel, which was read in voice over (as were any other bits of poetry) more than once. This perhaps speaks to Frieda Hughes’ concerns.
The producer (BBC) and director (Christine Jeffs) chose to focus on Plath’s clinical depression, her tumultuous relationship with Hughes, and her suicide.The sense of Plath as a poet is background to all that. One could argue that it should have been the other way around.
Gwyneth Paltrow plays Plath and while she does bare some resemblance to Plath, she…
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