It’s not that I expected a lot, really, but if the film Hitchcock had been only marginally as well-conceptualized as the great director’s better films, it would have been more thought-provoking and even informative than the film about Alfred Hitchcock’s production of Psycho turns out to be.

Three things I like about the film:

(1) More people will now know the name Alma Reville after seeing it and will understand her large role in the creative process of “Hitchcock films.”

(2) It’s fun to see the recreation of the sets and the filming of some iconic sequences in Psycho.

(3) I think the discussion of whether or not to use music in the shower sequence (and the stair sequence) and Bernard Herrmann’s ultimate victory on that front is pretty accurate and interesting even if it becomes almost a throwaway in the film Hitchcock.

Three things I don’t like about the film:

(1) The internal dialogues and obsessions attributed to Hitchcock don’t seem authentic (though he had plenty of thematic preoccupations if not outright obsessions).

(2) Anthony Hopkins doesn’t sell me (sorry, Toby Jones came closer for me in the equally problematic HBO pic The Girl).

(3) The breezy tone throughout doesn’t work for me because it makes the stakes seem so low.  Competing emotional tones are one thing, but this coasting along on a pleasant plateau is another matter.

These biopics are dicey business and tend to work best when the movies cover compressed periods of time and largely unknown stories, though there are exceptions.

While the basic facts of Hitchcock are not in dispute, I did not find myself drawn in the way I did with My Week With Marilyn last year.  And, whether it is “true” or not, I didn’t feel emotional authenticity in the depiction of the director that I did with the star, there was no insight gleaned – plenty that felt “factual” but not so much that felt “true” – and flatness rather than suspense.

Hitchcock is moderately entertaining and will be fun for movie buffs.


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