Hitchcock reviewBy TheStudentGuide
The untold story behind Alfred Hitchcock and the film that shocked the world.
Hitchcock is set during the making of his seminal movie, Psycho. Starring Anthony Hopkins, Helen Mirren, Scarlett Johansson and Toni Collette, it is a story of love and relationship; of the mechanics of arguably the best filmmaker of all time and the woman behind him.
You may or may not have seen the two-part drama which aired on the BBC around Christmastime last year. The Girl starred Toby Jones as the man himself with Sienna Miller as his leading lady and blonde obsession of the moment, Tippi Hedron, and Imelda Staunton treading the boards as sidelined wife, Alma Reville. The Girl was a beautiful portrayal of the stark realities and effects of obsession, focussing largely on Hitchcock and Hedron and the tensions between them during the making of The Birds. Hitchcock looks more closely at wife Alma, an editor and senior of Hitchcock before they met, and partner and collaborator during the 54 years of their marriage.
The film is set over a very specific period of time so anybody looking for an overview of Hitchcock’s life and catalogue will not find it here. Hitchcock has been publicised as the story behind Psycho, and it does look closely at the difficulties in funding the film and the tribulations of actually getting it made. However this always feels something of an aside with the plot revolving more around Hitchcock’s wife and partner and her struggle to find her own space to work in. It was famously Reville who spotted that Janet Leigh had swallowed after her character was meant to be dead in that shower scene and Reville who had the film recut. Mirren plays Reville with a character and vigour entirely worthy of the lady, basing her portrayal as she does on the biography written by her daughter. We see her famously backing and supporting Hitchcock in every decision he makes, even to the point of mortgaging their home, whilst on the side she pursues her own ambitions to a myriad of accusations. We also see her rescue Psycho from the brink after Hitchcock’s efforts produce only a ‘stillborn’ picture. Yes, this film finally gives Alma at least some of the credit she is so sorely owed.
The film also hints at the tribulations of its other leading lady, Janet Leigh played by Scarlett Johansson with Reville remarking to her towards the end of the film “Janet, you’ve been very...professional. It hasn’t gone unappreciated.” That is a whole other film though.
Hitchcock is a very watchable and even more enjoyable look at Alfred Hitchcock, his leading film and his leading ladies. An undoubtedly complex subject matter, the film can only touch upon parts of the filmmaker’s life and the relationships within it so, while it feels short, watching it with The Girl provides a nice accompaniment. Overall however, Hitchcock is superbly acted and completely accessible - go and watch it today.
Hitchcock is in cinemas nationwide now.