Hitchcock takes us on a ride through the making of Alfred Hitchcock’s film Psycho, but this film focuses a bit more on his marriage with Alma Reville, played by Helen Mirren. Director Sacha Gervasi takes a risk, in my opinion, with showcasing the marriage between Alfred and Alma and how much Alma really was Alfred’s biggest fan, supporter and helper. I personally think it was a good risk, though not great.
A quick summary of the film (warning: spoilers): After the premiere for North By Northwest, we see an eager Hitchcock trying to find his next idea for a film. He reads the book, Psycho and determines that this is the next film he will make. He has to fund it himself, because studio suits refuse to fund it, since they think this idea will not do well. As he begins production and casting, we see the relationship between Hitch and Alma look rocky and confusing. She seems more into Whitfield Cook, a friend, and helping him make his book and Hitch is engaging in his filmmaking and practically losing his mind with seeing Ed Gein everywhere and having an infatuation with his blonde leading ladies. As the film goes on, eventually Hitch and Alma seem to get back on better terms and she eventually helps him out in the biggest way, making Psycho happen even though it showed in a few theaters and had no formal premiere. Without Alma’s help, Hitch would have been lost.
I have to admit, Helen Mirren stole the show. She was outstanding as Alma Reville, delivering humor, wit, and drama. I found myself wanting her on screen all the time. Scarlett Johansson was good as Janet Leigh and I was pleasantly surprised at just how good she was. Anthony Hopkins was lovely as Hitchcock. There were some flaws but I think Hopkins was a perfect casting choice for Hitchcock, I can’t see anyone else making me believe I was watching Hitchcock himselfand not just the actor portraying him. I’m hoping Hopkins and Mirren star in more films together since they had great chemistry. I’m shocked they haven’t been in films together before – their star power worked well.
I feel like the tried to fit too much into the film. When I went to a Q & A with the director, he said that they managed to get as much information as they could to make the film as true-to-life as possible, including getting real quotes and using “Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of ‘Psycho” as a huge focal point for the film. If Sacha Gervasi really wanted to focus on the marriage, he probably should have made the film just about that – not adding in the making of Psycho, but just really focusing on the marriage. Some moments in the film are slow and deliberate, while others seemingly pop out of nowhere. One moment I found a bit strange was when they were shooting the famous shower scene, Hitchcock decided to grab the knife and fake stab Janet Leigh and force her into really acting that scene out with fear, but as he does this he begins to imagine different people in the shower including his wife and Whit and stabs uncontrollably. That was a shocking moment that I felt really wasn’t needed. That scene and every scene with Ed Gein just didn’t feel needed.
As a fan of film and filmmaking in general, I did enjoy watchingHitchcock. Which is exactly what I hoped. I went into it as a Hitchcock fan who wanted to see an entertaining movie all while getting insight on things I perhaps didn’t know about him. Seeing into their marriage was great because it allowed a peek at Hitchcock that we never got to see before. I enjoyed the film, and think most people will, but it is has many flaws that people will be critical of that could ruin the film for them.
P.S. Danny Elfman doing the score was genius.
I really want to hear what others thought of the film, comment in the comments section below with your thoughts!