Sylvia Starring: Gwyneth Paltrow, Daniel Craig, Jared Harris Director: Christine Jeffs Category: IIB The problem with tackling a character as enigmatic as the late Sylvia Plath - and her often tempestuous relationship with husband and fellow poet Ted Hughes - is that it's almost impossible to rise to the expectations, such are the depth of feelings she evokes. It doesn't help that the producers of Sylvia were forbidden from using any of her work, and that Plath's family, and Hughes himself, refused to have anything to do with the film. So, things weren't really off to a good start. Plath's story is treated with the reflective reverence it deserves by New Zealand director Christine Jeffs. She presents the facts as they're known, and doesn't try to second-guess the reasons behind any of the major events in the poet's life - including her suicide at the age of 30. The main problem is that, along the way, the film is drained of any passion or feeling. Plath is considered one of the great poets of the 1950s, starting her writing as a child and earning a Fulbright scholarship to Cambridge University, where she met Hughes and, for a brief time, found a measure of happiness. Gwyneth Paltrow (above) is suitably winsome and nervy as Plath, but fairly floats through her role and gives us little or no insight into the fire that so obviously drove her work. Even the relationship with Hughes (played by the reliably gruff Daniel Craig) lacks any real spark after the first explosive encounter. What you're left with is a pared-down portrait of a poet's life and times, rather than an exploration of them, and it's all done without any sense of why she wrote what she wrote, and why her life ended so wretchedly. Sylvia opens today.