Hitchcock is a fascinating film depicting the life of Alfred Hitchcock while he was filming the amazing and classic film Psycho. It is cool to see this brilliant filmmaker in the process of making an idea become a feature film.
It’s not so much a film about the making of a film as it is a film about a man who makes films. A man who struggles in life like the rest of us. A man who is at odds with his own desires in life. A man who has to work at his marriage.
Anthony Hopkins is excellent as Hitchcock. The extras on the Blu-ray show what he had to go through to become Alfred Hitchcock every day. But the one who stills the show, so to speak, is Helen Mirren. Mirren plays Alma Reville, Hitchcock’s wife. Alma is supportive of her husband, but she is not a Tammy Wyette-stand-by-your-man kind of woman. She is her own person. While Hitchcock works on the film, she seeks out an opportunity to co-write a film.
But the couple is not without its country music style of drama. Hitchcock cannot convince the studio to pick up the project. Believing that this film is his next big hit, Hitchcock decides the finance the bulk of the film himself. It becomes all he thinks about. It consumes most of his time. Hitchcock also becomes obsessed, as he has done before, with his leading lady. This time it is Janet Leigh, played by Scarlett Johansson.
Alma, in the meantime, makes time to work with a male author on his script. Hitchcock gets jealous and isn’t sure what to do with that feeling. It does not appear that Alma wants anything more than a creative outlet. But Whitfield Cook (Danny Huston) does seem to have alternative motives for the collaboration. When she finds Cook having sex with a woman who is not his wife, she leaves the project. It seems that every man she attempts to work with, has taken her for granted.
The climax of the film comes when Hitchcock and Alma both realize that they have been trying to fill a void that only the other could fill. Alma steps in and the two become a team in film making again. She boldly steps into the director’s chair when Hitchcock gets sick. And when the film doesn’t turn out the way Hitchcock had planned it to, Alma joins him in the editing room to get the classic result that we know today. They show what it means to be a team, both in film making and in marriage. They show us that marriage is not easy, but if we invest ourselves into it, it is worth it.
Mirren deserved an Oscar for her portrayal as Alma. Unfortunately, I think too many people thought that Hopkins was the star and that the film was a “How-to-make-Psycho” movie. Mirren is the star of this film, and as such, she is the one to watch.