Looking for stuff to do while you’re at home? Never fear! SWAN Day has gone virtual for 2020. Our FF2 team has gathered recommendations of films celebrating women artists across many categories. And of course, the films are made by women, too! Watch and read at your leisure, or collect all of them to have a marathon on the official SWAN Day weekend of March 28.
Sylvia, Featuring Sylvia Plath
Sylvia (2003) is a biopic featuring the famous American short story writer, poet and novelist—Sylvia Plath. Director Christine Jeffs gives us the privilege of delving into 100 minutes of Sylvia Plath’s life and work.
Writer Sylvia Plath was born and grew up in Massachusetts. At the age of 8, she published her first poem in the children’s section of Boston Herald. That same year, she lost her father, which would continue to have an impact on her life.
As a child, Path continued not only to write, but also paint, and gained some recognition as a child artist. She was a very, very smart woman filled with drive and ambition. Whilst excelling in her studies and work, she also suffered from depression and attempted suicide as a student at Smith College. Later on, her marriage with Ted Hughes was tumultuous and passionate, inspiring many of her poems.
In many people’s eyes, Plath’s work is often overshadowed by her emotional state. This is very unfortunate, and male authors aren’t as susceptible to such treatment. Ernest Hemingway chose to end his life, similar to Plath, and yet his work still precedes his suicide.
After the second world war ended, America experienced an economic boom that secured its position as the richest country in the world. Everyone wanted to be happy, to seem happy—the war was over, after all. What did people have to complain about now? But life doesn’t work that way. People may experience ups and downs in their moods and emotions based on an infinite variety of factors. Hunger could have been a likely cause of Esther Greenwood’s sadness in the infamous fig tree quote that is so often pulled out of The Bell Jar. (If people stuck around and read the next parts, they would see that a meal made Esther feel much better.)
At the time, Sylvia Plath did what few people were brave enough to do—she carved out, word by word, the emotions she and others felt, without hiding behind a suffocating pretence. She sharpened her feelings into something that the reader would be able to empathize with, experience, and share. Perhaps this was a way for Plath to purge her inner thoughts to the rest of us. This probably resulted in many other people going through similar experiences feeling less alone, and eventually encouraged communication and awareness. I believe this is partially why artists, along with their creations, are so important to the wellbeing of our societies.
I love watching biopics of writers, painters, musicians, and artists alike, because it reminds me how much of their lives they put into their work so that we, as their audience, can live a more fruitful and fulfilling life. Now, due to the spreading of a pandemic, we are encouraged to stay away from human contact as much as possible. People rely heavily on content to fill the void of social interactions. Sylvia is a great reminder of how powerful words and stories can be, and how valuable creators like Sylvia Plath are to us!
To stream it click here!
Read FF2’s review of the film here!
Photo: Gwyneth Paltrow as “Sylvia Plath”, Daniel Craig as “Ted Hughes”
Poster Design: Emma Werowinski
Photo Credits: David Appleby
© Katusha Jin 03/14/2020 FF2 Media