Hitchcock
Year:
2012
Country:
USA
Genre:
Drama, Biography
IMDB rating:
7.0
Director:
Sacha Gervasi
Anthony Hopkins as Alfred Hitchcock
Ralph Macchio as Joe Stefano
Judith Hoag as Lillian
Kai Lennox as Hilton Green
Kurtwood Smith as Geoffrey Shurlock
Michael Stuhlbarg as Lew Wasserman
Danny Huston as Whitfield Cook
Wallace Langham as Saul Bass
Scarlett Johansson as Janet Leigh
Toni Collette as Peggy Robertson
Jessica Biel as Vera Miles
Helen Mirren as Alma Reville
Richard Portnow as Barney Balaban
Michael Wincott as Ed Gein
James D'Arcy as Anthony Perkins
Tara Summers as Rita Riggs
Storyline: In 1959, Alfred Hitchcock and his wife, Alma, are at the top of their creative game as filmmakers amid disquieting insinuations about it being time to retire. To recapture his youth's artistic daring, Alfred decides his next film will adapt the lurid horror novel, Psycho, over everyone's misgivings. Unfortunately, as Alfred self-finances and labors on this film, Alma finally loses patience with his roving eye and controlling habits with his actresses. When an ambitious friend lures her to collaborate on a work of their own, the resulting marital tension colors Alfred's work even as the novel's inspiration haunts his dreams.
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Reviews
Entertaining But Could Have Been So Much Better!
Finally got to see Hitchcock last night. It was one of the movies that I was really looking forward to this year. However, I felt so disappointed after it was over. Having read the book on which this film is based (Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho by Stephen Rebello)and Janet Leigh's book (Psycho: Behind the Scenes of the Classic Thriller), there were so many interesting facts that did not make it into the movie that would have improved it without lengthening it significantly. For example, the Motion Picture Board whose seal of approval was needed to make "Psycho" releasable, sent the first cut back to Hitchcock informing him that he had to "remove the nudity and knife penetration" from the shower scene. Hitchcock proceeded to send the film back to the board without cutting a single frame. The board them informed him that the cuts he had made were sufficient and the film would get the needed approval. The movie also does not mention that chocolate syrup was used in the shower to replace blood. I could go on and on, but you get the picture. I am giving this movie a "thumbs up" because I think you will enjoy it, but I would also recommend that you read the two books I mentioned if you want to know all the interesting things that went on during the filming of "Psycho." You won't get them from this movie. I would also like to mention that Scarlett Johansson was wonderful as Janet Leigh although it seemed she was in this picture only about as much as Janet Leigh was in the original "Psycho." I believe she could have done so much more if she had only been given the opportunity. And James D'Arcy as Anthony Perkins has what amounts to little more than a cameo. I wish he were given more screen time also. One can only hope that there will be a longer version such as a Director's Cut when it is released on DVD sometime next year.
2012-12-20
Good dramatization!
Good evening! I'm a huge fan of Hitchcock. Just take a look at the films I own from the director and you'll know what I'm talking about, gentleman. I'll be kind enough to give you the proper address where you can see these movies:

http://www.imdb.com/list/xSr3Tlep2Ew/

Anyway, even having my personal problems with Hollywood dramatizing a Hitchcock related material nowadays, I could make my way to check this most anticipated performance of Mr. Hopkins as the Master of Suspense. And I can only resume the experience as a wonderful feeling of joy and satisfaction comes to me as I see the picture, considering the fact I'm not keen to cine-biographies, as they tend to distort some facts for the sake of dramatization alone. Even this one, in fact, has many problems.

But I can kindly regard the fact that the Master is being properly introduced to a younger generation with this film, so I can murder my criticism for cine-biographies this time and give this one a free pass. And if I even have to use the sharpest blade to murder that criticism, I will happily do so. Thank you and good night!
2013-05-05
Interesting, but mot definitive
Good, but not great, telling of the making of the classic movie Psycho, and the relationship between Alfred Hitchcock and his wife at the time. The "making-of" part is the interesting, as you feel like you're seeing a masterpiece in the making. However, like everything in the movie, the film only scratches the surface of the making of Psycho.

There is little depth in characters, and what there is feels token. The Hitchcock-wife relationship is interesting at times, but also seems tackled quite shallowly, and even contrived at times.

The scenes with Ed Gein were totally unnecessary, and just served as padding. That time could have been better used on developing the main plots.

The biggest kudos in the movie must go to Anthony Hopkins, in his performance as Hitchcock, and whoever did the make up to make him look like Hitchcock. Great work. (Though sometimes I think Anthony Hopkins' captures of Hitchcock's mannerisms remind me of Phil Cornwell's impersonation of Michael Caine in Stella Street!).

Solid all-star supporting cast: Helen Mirren, Scarlett Johansson, Michael Stuhlbarg, Toni Collette, Jessica Biel, Michael Wincott. Danny Huston is very irritating as Whitfield Cook, but maybe that's the idea.

Surely not the definitive Hitchcock bio-drama, but interesting nevertheless.
2015-11-22
"A well-cast but ultimately messily handled drama..."
2012 has seen two screen depictions of the so-called Master of Suspense. First Toby Jones took the role in the BBC's The Girl and now Anthony Hopkins tries his hand in Sacha Gervasi's simply titled Hitchcock, allowing us a sneaky peephole look at the build up to, production of and the reception to, Alfred Hitchcock's game changing horror film Psycho.

The film does not waste any time with suggesting its motifs. In a film about such a wonderful crafter of story and cinema, you could be forgiven for expecting subtlety to be at the forefront of Gervasi's mind. Sadly not- the first act is as subtle as a breadknife in pointing out all the obvious characteristics we should be looking out for with Hitchcock and his 'new' film. Yes he had an obsession with blonde leading ladies. Yes he drank a lot. Yes Psycho was influenced partly by the real killer Ed Gein. It should not have taken awful sexualised puns with Janet Leigh, and an almost farcical first scene in which Hitchcock speaks to us directly while standing next to the Wisconsin killer on which Norman Bates was slightly based. And they unfortunately lower both the tone of the film and the audience's expectations rather quickly. From there on, the film becomes a well-cast but ultimately messily handled drama about this period of Hitchcock's life.

But even within the tight confines of looking at Hitchcock at one point in his career, at one movie he made, there is still too much going on for a film that runs only just over the ninety minute mark. Should we focus on his domestic relationship with wife Alma Reville, as she sneaks off to spend time with a younger writer, Danny Huston's Whitfield Cook? I hope not: these scenes are more painful than being stabbed to death in the shower, playing out like a poor American soap opera. Instead, maybe we should turn our attention to Hitchcock's inner struggle with the film at hand, while he navigates actors, self-finance and visits from serial killers in his dreams. But while the latter is slightly more interesting for the audience and better crafted by the director, the former seems to take first place in terms of screen time. By the conclusion of the film, the two trains of thought come together, and Alfred and Alma's marital subplot has enough weight to carry what turns out to be an enjoyable and rewarding ending, but until then we simply seem to be biding our time. And not in the classic Hitchockian sense of the phrase.

As Hopkins keeps his head as Hitchcock (although slightly lacking the creepiness that Jones played so well) it is his supporting cast that catches the audience's eye. Scarlett Johansson is excellent as Janet Leigh while Helen Mirren plays the torn and tormented Alma brilliantly. James D'Arcy's Anthony Perkins and Jessica Biel as the almost ignored Vera Miles are also worth a mention.

Hitchcock is an interesting, easy to watch, insight into one of Hollywood's greats, both in terms of the film it depicts and its maker. However, my advice to anyone with only time to watch one of the two: choose Psycho any day and imagine for yourself the behind the scenes drama if you so desire.
2013-06-04
Good biopic Great actors
Anthony Hopkins does an impeccable Alfred Hitchcock. And in Helen Mirren, they got his equal and wife Alma. This is their story in 1959 as they develop and make their greatest success 'Psycho'. Janet Leigh (Scarlett Johansson) is the blonde bombshell that he gets for the movie. Hitchcock gets jealous as Alma starts to enjoy the friendship of writer Whitfield Cook (Danny Huston).

The story may shock some people, but there are other more shameful and salacious rumors of Hitch. Basically Hitch is a Machiavellian character controlling his leading blonde actresses. Alma is his long suffering writing partner that is every bit his equal. I think many critics have a problem with this portrait of the great director. I can't attest to its truthfulness.

As a movie, it could use more suspense. It faces the problem that we all know the outcome. But it's a good biopic with some great actors. Hopkins has the prowess to command the screen, and Helen Mirren is one who can withstand his power. Scarlett Johansson is slightly disappointing by comparison.
2013-10-12
Good but flawed
With just one Academy Award nomination for Makeup and Hairstyle, HITCHCOCK could be one of the most underrated films of 2012. But if I am being perfectly honest, this film is not the biopic most viewers or fans were expecting. And although this film is interesting and entertaining, as much as it benefits from the leading actors' wit and charm, HITCHCOCK is a misfire that will remain so for more than one reason.

For millions of Hitchcockian fans, the biggest disappointment arises with the realisation that this film is not about what made Alfred Hitchcock one of the greatest directors of all time or how he came to known as "The Master of Suspense". Instead, the film is based on Stephen Rebello's journal 'Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho', which in itself is based on an interview with Hitchcock before his death in 1990. In adapting this journal for the screen, John J. McLaughlin's screenplay is merely about the turbulent times Hitchcock endured soon after his 1959 classic NORTH BY NORTHWEST. Taunted by the media and accused by critics (Ahem! What a blowhard bunch of self-righteous vultures!) of losing his edge, Hitchcock decided to prove them wrong by setting out to make his most controversial and ground-breaking film yet – PSYCHO. For Hitchcock, this was easier said than done. What lay ahead were unimpressed production and distribution bosses, who were not only repulsed by the story but abhorred the fact that Hitchcock became fixated with a known serial killer called Ed Gein, a body snatcher whose notorieties were fictionalised by crime fiction novelist Robert Bloch. Without funding and faced with a steep upheaval by the censorship board, Hitchcock went ahead and risked everything. And as McLaughlin's story goes, the only person who stood by him through thick and thin was his wife Alma Reville (Helen Mirren). The rest is history.

As a drama, HITCHCOCK is mildly entertaining, lively and witty, and even wraps up with a feel-good ending. But this could also be seen as one of the film's main deterrents by sugar coating Alfred Hitchcock as a victim rather than the difficult and obnoxious film director he was said to be. For whatever rhyme or reason, débutant director Sacha Gervasi also has the narrative include a fictionalised figment of Hitchcock's imagination, an unnecessary sub-plot that seems to strongly suggest the latter's obsession with Ed Gein. Then there is the misconstrued perception that this film is about the making of PSYCHO. But as it turns out, this film has a lot to say about the love-hate relationship between Hitchcock and his wife Alma. Again, this works as a good drama but not so much as a biopic.

On the positive side, Mirren is admirable as always. In fact, I enjoyed her portrayal of Alma as a person who not only rescues her marriage from the jaws of infidelity, but also her husband from oblivion. It might take a few minutes to see through the facial prosthetics, but in comparison, Anthony Hopkins is almost as effective as the titular character. Hopkins' portrayal of Hitchcock – from pouting his lips while conversing, to spying on his female cast in the changing room, to throwing childish tantrums when Alma cautions him about his unhealthy girth – are parts that are amusing and well done. The narrative's best moments, however, is when we get to see Hitchcock as the man who doubted his own abilities as a film maker. That Alma and Hitchcock rolled up their sleeves and literally made PSYCHO with their own hands is only retrospective when considering PSYCHO spawned slasher films in the horror genre by paving the way for directors like John Carpenter and even Wes Craven. Even so, the crux of HITCHCOCK as a biopic has us believe that the master of suspense, turned master of the macabre, was not always loved by critics and colleagues. Sadly, history has repeated itself by the manner in which this film was received by critics and filmmaking bigwigs.
2013-03-14
Never thought of Alfred HItchcocks personal life until now!
I loved the movie, I saw it at the cinema and would've loved to have watched it again. Anthony Hopkins (silence of the lambs) portal as Alfred Hitchcock, was outstanding, and worthy of and Oscar! The same a Helen Mirren (The Queen) now she did a bloody good job in that movie, yet again she should've at least been nominated for an Oscar. I've always been fascinated in Alfred Hitchcocks movie, for example, 'Psycho', 'The Birds' and 'North By Northwest'. Although, even though I love those movies, my favorite is 'Psycho' because of the music, the tense, and the huge twist, and 'Hitchcock' is about the making of Psycho. *SPOILER!* for example, in the famous 'shower scene' the bit when the murderer pulled the shower curtain, was Alfred Hitchcock, and he got annoyed with Janet Leigh because she wasn't doing good enough in screaming because she was being stabbed, and Alfred Hitchcock picked up the knife and acted the scene and Janet Leigh wasn't expecting it, so the scream you see in the movie, is her scream from fear. I learned that from Hitchcock!
2013-04-02
Charming Performances make for a Great Insight to the Acclaimed Director,
Hitchcock is a terrific movie with a very well developed storyline and a stellar cast. It was a really interesting and entertaining insight in to the life of director Alfred Hitchcock as he was making Psycho, focusing largely on the troubles he had with his wife Alma at the time, their relationship is certainly the strongest element of the film. There was certainly some roles that were underused that should have been established more, particularly James D'Arcy as Anthony Perkins, who delivers an uncanny performance, and despite the fact that Norman Bates was the main character in Psycho, D'Arcy receives limited screen time that left me disappointed. As well as that, Hitchcock's dream sequences felt forced and unnecessary, the tone was too different to the majority of the film, it simply did not feel needed, it was wasted time that should have been used to develop Perkin's character. Other than that, many of the cast members full potential is showcased, Anthony Hopkins suits the role perfectly, its hard to imagine anyone playing Hitchcock as well, Helen Mirren also shines as the wife, their chemistry is magnificent, they are also joined by a stunning Scarlett Johansson as the great Janet Leigh and Jessica Biel as the difficult, yet likable, Vera Miles. Hitchcock is a wild ride in which most of its flaws are hidden by all it did right, and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a good drama.

Chronicles the struggles of director Alfred Hitchcock as he was making what would soon become his most beloved film, Psycho.

Best Performance: Anthony Hopkins
2016-04-30
Sad
Truly sad, this dreck of a movie with its all star cast of note just begging for a decent script and lacking, sadly, the real lowdown on the making of that marvellous movie, "Psycho".

Instead we get the puffery of an inflated soap opera with Alfred and Alma at odds with each other in their "love story" of his and hers jealousies.

No mention at all of the child they had together. And Alma's role is a complete distortion of the reality of her superb editing and script approval and his directorial genius. Instead we see her investing her time, chastely, with a losing hack writer. While Hitch impotently googley-eyes his leading ladies.

A bonus: an unbelievably cloying finale to this feast of clichés hammers the "whatever" point home. Dishonouring each of them equally.

A brilliant cast wasted, clumping wetly through this simplistic treatment of one of cinema's greats.

1/10. Avoid.
2016-03-29
A narrowed down film, myopic and predictable.
A narrowed down film, myopic and predictable.

It is a film that deals with how Alfred Hitchcock made the thriller called 'Psycho'. It is good nonetheless but never becomes great.

Are there any moments of greatness at least? Absolutely not. It comes across as a fictionalized documentary more than a fascinating drama. Having said that, the performance by Anthony Hopkins as Alfred Hitchcock is worth appreciating. Other performances are good enough too.

What failed me was the script that kept many things obvious. There was no guile, secrecy or a metaphor in any of the scenes. The screenplay followed a well-documented path. Yes, for few instances it gets into the psyche of Hitchcock and tries to interpret some actions but they come very much late in the film.

Overall, I must say the viewing of this film was daunting more than being insightful for me. The actual interviews of Hitchcock himself are more interesting than this film.

It's a 2/5 for showing few days of an illustrious career and personality.
2016-09-08
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