Director: Sacha Gervasi
Writer: John J. McLaughlin
Based on: Stephen Rebello‘s book Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho
Cast: Anthony Hopkins, Helen Mirren, Scarlett Johansson, Danny Huston, Toni Collette, Michael Stuhlbarg, Michael Wincott, Jessica Biel, James D’Arcy, Kurtwood Smith
Alfred Hitchcock (Anthony Hopkins) just finished his last film and is looking for his next project. But nothing seems right to him. While his wife Alma (Helen Mirren) is happily working on a novel by her friend Whit (Danny Huston), Alfred gets increasingly jealous of both Whit and their creativity. But then he discovers a novel – Psycho – and is convinced that he found his new hit, even if everybody else seems to doubt it. Everybody but Alma, that is.
Hitchcock was partly really good and partly not that much. I was entertained but it smacked of “the woman behind the strong man should be happy that she gets to be there at all” syndrome. And it just ran a little long.
The cast was great. Helen Mirren really is a goddess and he really makes Alma work. Without such a strong performance, though, the whole thing would have probably ended as offensive as Hyde Park on Hudson. Scarlett Johansson was pretty good, too and Anthony Hopkins.
I was less convinced by Jessica Biel, though that was partly due to how the character was written – which just wasn’t clear at all. In fact, when deadra and me left the cinema, we had a lively discussion about whether or not Vera was at all bitter, and that’s usually something that’s pretty obvious.
But my biggest beef with the film is that Hitchcock got off too easy. The part were he sexually harasses his actresses is glossed over, only mentioned shortly another quickly turned into a bit of a joke. His trying to utterly control the women around him is also mentioned more in passing than anything else. Instead you start to see him as this jovial dude who is just a little naughty. What can you do, boys will boys, right?
What I did enjoy, though, was when Hitchcock started talking to the camera and generally the meta elements. And Helen Mirren.
Summarising: entertaining enough but could have been much better if they had dared to show Hitchcock in a more negative light.