MPAA Rating: PG-13

Entertainment: +2

Content: -2

Anthony Hopkins, Helen Mirren, Scarlett Johansson, Danny Huston, Toni Collette, Jessica Biel, Michael Stuhlbarg, James D'Arcy, Michael Wincott. Drama. Written by John J. McLaughlin. Directed by Sacha Gervasi.

FILM SYNOPSIS: Billed as a love story between Hitch and his wife Alma Reville, a talented editor in her own right, the pulp-ish tale takes place during the making of Hitchcock’s seminal movie Psycho.

PREVIEW REVIEW: An interesting, if misleading look at the obsessions of the great auteur. The filmmakers care little about how they use or misrepresent real-life personalities. For example, the Hitchcocks had a daughter, but she’s never mentioned in this film. Perhaps Patricia Hitchcock avoided any association with the production. And a subplot has it that Vera Miles didn’t want to become a star because she preferred home life. That may be true as she was married five times. That’s a lot of home(s) life. And we are made to believe that the Psycho house is located on the Paramount lot. Not so. It can be found on the Universal back lot (if you dare). It misrepresents several real people, using them merely to further the story, but at the expense of their true character and ability. It beats me how the producers aren’t getting sued.

Plus, there were several contributors to the success of the film Psycho. You wouldn’t know that from this production. These misrepresentations sent up red flags for me.

If you’re going to do a film that appears to be a biography, then you owe the audience some semblance of truth. Here the filmmakers forsake facts for their own agendas. I fear this “When the legend becomes fact, print the legend” mentality is rampant not just in the entertainment field, but other areas of our culture and society. (I’m not going to get political right now.)

Perhaps the worst offense is the fact we never see Hitchcock be a genius behind the camera. He’s more a cartoon. A spooky cartoon, where he’s this nutcase who keeps envisioning a real-life serial killer and talks to him throughout the movie.

Anthony Hopkins and Helen Mirren are effective as Mr. & Mrs. Hitch, and Scarlett Johansson is serviceable as Janet Leigh. There is one engrossing sequence wherein the paranoid Hitchcock investigates his wife, who he believes is having an affair. The sequence nearly matches the brilliance of Hitchcock’s own ability to create suspense, the background music a perfect copy of Bernard Hermann. But most other scenes are there merely to help the theater management sell more popcorn.

I got the feeling this was a picture about smart (gifted) people made by people not so smart (gifted).

If you want to see what made Alfred Hitchcock the Master of Suspense, you won’t get it here. Just a perverse and pandering obsession with his blond leading ladies. To get insight on his unique ability and style, check out his works, especially the following: To Catch a Thief, Rear Window, North By Northwest, The Wrong Man, The 39 Steps, Psycho, Vertigo, and, well, nearly all the rest.

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
Fox Searchlight Pictures

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Two crude sexual references

Obscene Language: I caught none

Profanity: One misuse of Jesus’ name.

Violence: Reenactments of killings by a real life serial killer; photo of carved up body. Some blood.

Sex: Hitchcock uses a peephole to watch an actress undress; we see an adulterous couple frolicking on the floor, but they are still clothed.

Nudity: No nudity

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: None

Drugs: Lots of drinking.

Other: None

Running Time: 98 minutes
Intended Audience: Mature viewers

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