This is one of those films that everyone says they don’t like “despite Paltrow’s amazing performance.” Well, I’ll be the contrary voice then that says her performance is the very worst thing about this lackluster movie. Everything about her character’s “depression” is evidenced not by felt emotion, but through outward signs: nail-biting, ridiculous rocking back and forth, stagey facial expressions – all a transparent mask for Paltrow’s stony boredom. She is a maudlin, insipid, immature caricature of Plath.
Granted, the screenplay and direction had much to do with this ruinous performance, as most of Plath’s writing comes across as a product not of persistent work and study, but as a side-effect of madness – a myth Hollywood has helped perpetuate about any number of “tortured artists.”
But film after film people talk about how Paltrow’s talent is “wasted” in this or that role…when all I can think is that there is a stable of better actresses who casting overlooked because they lacked the celebrity (and therefore box office draw) that she brings.