Christine Jeff's much anticipated film Sylvia, starring Gwyneth Paltrow and Daniel Craig, will open across the U.K. on January 30th, released by Icon Film Distribution, following its U.K. Premiere as the Closing Night Gala of The Times bfi London Film Festival on November 6. The film is written by John Brownlow, produced by Alison Owen and financed by BBC Films, the U.K. Film Council’s Premiere Fund, Capitol Films and Focus Features.
Sylvia tells the true story of the passionate but ultimately tragic relationship between the poets Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes, regarded as among the greatest poets of the twentieth century.
Beginning with their courtship as students in Cambridge, the film follows the course of their marriage as it spirals into a vortex of bitterness, infidelity and even violence - a sequence of events which over the period of a few short months produced both the astonishing outpouring of poetic work which would make Plath famous, and the profound mental distress which would lead to tragedy.
The supporting cast includes Tony Award winner Blythe Danner, Gwyneth Paltrow’s mother who portrays Plath’s mother; and Michael Gambon (‘Gosford Park’), who plays Professor Thomas. Jared Harris Al Alvarez, poetry critic of The Observer who is the first person to publish Sylvia's work.
Major US critics have particularly admired the central performances. According to A.O. Scott of the New York Times, Paltrow plays Sylvia Plath “with radiant conviction….she has a vivid, passionate presence”, while senior L.A Times critic Kenneth Turan feels the film “reminds us of how good an actress Paltrow can be when she’s got a strong part that suits her…..she is always involving.” For Owen Gleibermann in Entertainment Weekly, “this is the richest role Paltrow has had since Shakespeare in Love, and she rises to the challenge.” An Oscar buzz is starting to resonate around her performance.
In his role as Ted Hughes, the New York Times praises Daniel Craig’s “sexual magnetism”, with David Ansen in Newsweek describing his performance as “saturnine….Daniel Craig smoulders with the best of them.”
As far as the film itself is concerned, the New York Times praises Jeffs’ “emotionally rich life of the poet”, while indiewire.com describes the film as “a haunting, beautifully subtle one enhanced by good taste….and superbly expressive cinematography.” Anthony Lane’s New Yorker review was full of praise, claiming that if “Sylvia Plath was to be scrutinized by any director, she was lucky to get this one…I salute writer John Brownlow and Jeffs for their courage.”
Gwyneth Paltrow & Daniel Craig Interviews
Gwyneth Paltrow & Daniel Craig Interview, WMP, Small
Gwyneth Paltrow & Daniel Craig Interview, WMP, Large