I finally made it out to see Hitchcock this past weekend but made the mistake of watching The Girl only a few days beforehand. This led me to inevitably compare and contrast the two stories while I was watching. Nonetheless, I will spare you the details of those comparisons. Although the title indicates a focus on the auteur, there was a lot more focus on his wife, Alma Reville, than I anticipated. Not that I was disappointed, in fact, I have taken Hitchcock classes and studied his films in schools but little was ever written about the significant influence Alma had on his work.
If you don’t already know, she was also in filmmaking when Hitch got his start back in England during the 20’s. She was his boss for a while, if I recall correctly they started out writing the cards that appeared between scenes of silent films. Eventually he moved his way to director while she was working in continuity, assistant directing, or writing. They talk about all this in the film and the most poignant moment for me was after a confrontation with Hitch when Alma demands that she be allowed work of her own without his shadow. There are plenty of jabs at Hitchcock’s weight, his obsession with his leading ladies, and his paralyzing insecurity about satisfying women and the industry (no Oscars for Hitchcock). I don’t mean that purely in the sexual way rather in relationships as well. His relationship with Janet Leigh was mildly flirtatious while his interaction with Vera Miles was utter disgust due to her perceived betrayal of him via pregnancy when he was “going to make her a star.”
Peppered throughout the film is also all the dry English humor that came along with Hitchcock. He is not painted as a villain nor a hero, more a complicated man with a lust for surprising his audience. Through it all we get the portrait of a couple that bleeds talent and commitment, which inevitably resulted in the brilliant film, Psycho. As for the acting, I enjoyed Helen Mirren as a somewhat sexualized Alma Reville and Anthony Hopkins did his best at Alfred Hitchcock, but I’m too familiar with the man to say it was spot on. Nothing about the film blew me away, but it was good fun to watch as an avid Hitchcock fan. Alma deserves her turn in the spotlight, so I recommend it.