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Hitchcock Review Roundup

Hitchcock reviews

The new film about Alfred Hitchcock's production of Psycho, aptly named "Hitchcock," came out a few days ago, and the reviews are unsurprisingly mixed. "Why unsurprisingly?" you say. "It stars Sir Anthony Hopkins and Dame Helen Mirren in the main roles, with Scarlet Johansson as bonus eye candy! Plus, everyone loves Pyscho and wants to know more about it's production!"

Well, I'm sorry to inform you that the production of Psycho is but a mere portion of the films story. Most of the film focuses on the relationship between Hitchcock and his wife, Alma Reville. Also, it appears that the film isn't entirely accurate. Furthermore, HBO released their Hitchcock movie, The Girl, about a month earlier, and many critics consider that made-for-television movie superior to the one released in theaters, especially because it was more challenging to the ideas of what Hitchcock was actually like as a man.

Before you check out the reviews, here are some more notes:

  • The question of which actor played the best Hitchcock in the Fall of 2012 is quite polarizing. Some critics prefer Anthony Hopkins in Hithcock, while others prefer Toby Jones in The Girl.
  • The question of which aforementioned film better portrayed the famous director may never be solved.
  • The great Helen Mirren, as Hitchcock's wife Alma Reville (who steals the script), steals the show. Every critic was very impressed with her performance.
  • Scarlett Johansson gets approval, but it seems that critics are just suckers for her physical charms, being "beautiful on screen" and "bodacious" as Janet Leigh.


Loved It

Peter Travers - Rolling Stone

Score: 3 out of 4 stars
Excerpt: It's a kick that the radiant Helen Mirren plays mousy Alma with the banked fires of a woman who seldom received credit for her contributions on scripting, casting and editing. You want to cheer when she tells the old boy off for his neglect. Mirren deserves an Oscar nomination for that scene alone.

Roger Ebert - Chicago Sun-Times

Score: 3 out of 4 stars
Excerpt: Given the focus of this film, much depends on the character of Alma Reville, and Helen Mirren is warm and effective in the role; her intelligence crackles. Anthony Hopkins, superb actor although he is, would not seem to be an obvious choice to play Hitchcock, but I accepted him. His makeup job is transformative.

Mick LaSalle - San Francisco Chronicle

Score: 3 out of 4 stars
Excerpt: In this way, "Hitchcock" is made to please a modern audience, providing us with a Hitchcock we can like and an Alma we must respect. Scarlett Johansson, at her most charming, plays Janet Leigh with a sweet deference, as though it were she herself getting a miraculous, time-travel chance to work with the master of suspense.

Thought It Was Okay

Michael Phillips - Chicago Tribune

Score: 2.5 out of 4 stars
Excerpt: I prefer "The Girl," not because of its salaciousness but because it gets at something underneath the great (truly, great) director's skin. Toby Jones in "The Girl" doesn't look a great deal like Hitchcock, but he gets the voice right, brilliantly, and builds the performance from there. Hopkins, on the other hand, does all right with the voice as Hitchcock in "Hitchcock" and sports a lot more face-changing makeup than Jones does. It's a droll surface portrayal.

Ann Hornaday - Washington Post

Score: 2 out of 4 stars
Excerpt: Alma Reville especially gets her due in “Hitchcock,” in which Helen Mirren lends her both steely resolve and sad-eyed pathos, as she watches her husband gaze longingly at younger, leggier girls and sublimate his thwarted desires by eating vats of foie gras.

Stephen Witty - Newark Star-Ledger

Score: 2 out of 4 stars
Excerpt: But instead the movie decides to merely make things up, and get things wrong. Some of these are minor points, annoying chiefly to film buffs -- the most obvious one being that, despite what this movie shows, "Psycho" was not shot on the Paramount lot (as anyone who ever saw the old set from a Universal tour tram can tell you).

Manohla Dargis - New York Times

Score: 2 out of 5 stars
Excerpt: Although it tiptoes on the dark side, “Hitchcock” takes a lighter, more strenuously comic if patronizing approach to the director. The movie has its diversions, including Scarlett Johansson’s bodacious Janet Leigh and Michael Stuhlbarg’s wheedling Lew Wasserman. It’s fluff. But while its dim fantasies about Hitchcock and the association of genius with psychosis can be written off as silly, they also smack of spiteful jealousy.

Claudia Puig - USA Today

Score: 2.5 out of 4 stars
Excerpt: Director Sacha Gervasi can't seem to decide whether this is a historical biopic, a love story, an homage to a brilliant director or a story of the making of Psycho.

Hated It

Wesley Morris - Boston Globe

Score: 1.5 out of 4 stars
Excerpt: The best way to better understand the man who made those and dozens of other movies is simply to see them. There’s no case to be made for a mangy shortcut like “Hitchcock.” It’s all surface and formula. The movie takes Stephen Rebello’s invaluable 1990 account of the making of Hitchcock’s biggest hit, 1960’s “Psycho,” and implodes by trying to turn the book into camp.

Kenneth Turan - LA Times

Score: 2 out of 5 stars
Excerpt: With Anthony Hopkins as the great helmsman and Helen Mirren as Alma Reville, his wife of more than 50 years, "Hitchcock" puts major league star power at the service of its peek-behind-closed-doors premise. But whatever that relationship was like in real life, this is one cinematic portrait of a marriage we could have lived without.

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