As fine an actor as Anthony Hopkins is he gets wiped off the screen, as everyone else does, when Helen Mirren appears in the new film “Hitchcock”. There is a 2 minute scene near the latter part of the film when Mirren, (as Alma Reville, Hitchcock’s wife) that is mesmerizing and screams Oscar. Right now the two best actresses in the cinema world are Judi Dench and Helen Mirren and they are both on movie screens for the holiday with Dench in “Skyfall”.
In a recent movie on HBO,called “The Girl”, Toby Jones plays Hitchcock, supposedly obsessed with Tippi Hedren, and though he does a better job than Hopkins this is the better movie. It wasn’t so long ago that Jones was in the same position when he played Truman Capote as did Philip Seymour Hoffman and, while the latter won an Oscar for his performance, Jones didn’t even get a nomination.
Hopkins instead of being helped by a fat suit, and face prosthetics, seems to be hindered by them though he certainly gives a credible performance. Scarlett Johansson as Janet Leigh is far too blond and voluptuous while James D’Arcy, as Anthony Perkins, is convincing in the Norman Bates interpretation . Up until the ending credits it was almost impossible to tell that was Toni Collette playing Hitchcock’s secretary! Jessica Biel as Vera Miles gets dismissed by Hitchcock when she chooses family over worldwide stardom and is fulfilling her contract role to end her association with the famous director.
In case the above information doesn’t tell you, “Hitchcock” is a behind the scenes look at the making of the movie “Psycho”. It is also about the marriage of Alfred and Alma, the latter his muse, assistant, writer, sometimes fill in director and wife who seems to amused, to a point, about his ‘affairs’ with his leading ladies.
“Hitchcock” is an entertaining film with a few laughs though a music score that is bland except when playing the shower scene and the theme music from Hitchcock’s TV show. There is an unnecessary secondary story about Ed Gein who was the model for Norman Gates plus a few other movies. The director, Sacha Gervasi, and the screenwriter, John J. McLaughlin, base the movie on a book, “Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho” by Stephen Rebello. Hitchcock was known to be a very private man so how much is true and how much is made up, especially about his marriage, is hard to tell.
“Hitchcock” is a 98 fast moving film that holds your interest for the people depicted on screen and, if for nothing else, that 2 minute scene spoken about in the first paragraph and the rest of Helen Mirren’s performance!