The Bell Jar
Poet Sylvia Plath wrote an immensely popular roman à clef, The Bell Jar, which chronicles a woman's descent from functioning as a highly educated, motivated, and capable young woman to being completely incapacitated at the hands of mental illness. Sadly, Plath committed suicide at age 30, and did not have a chance to enjoy the success of her novel, which wasn't officially published in the United States until the early '70s. In this tragic tale, Esther Greenwood (Marilyn Hassett) is the central figure, a college student on a publishing internship with a woman's magazine in Manhattan. As she begins to experience psychological difficulties, her troubles are compounded by the incredible insensitivity of the people around her. On one occasion, her boyfriend condescendingly berates her for taking an overdose of pills. Critics complained that this movie, which did not do well at the box office, failed to capture the evocative emotional tone of the novel.