I felt compelled to give my views on this film since it seemed to have left a delayed impression.
It stars Anthony Hopkins as the enigmatic director with Helen Mirren playing Alma, his loyal and talented wife.
For starters, as I watched I kept thinking, who does Hopkins remind me of. Could it be a previous role…Nixon maybe? Then my friend Bill solved the mystery by saying, “Hey, so you saw Hitchcock…what did you think of Uncle Fester?”‘
That’s it, that’s who he looks like. Uncle Fester from The Addams Family. You half expected him to hang upside down in a nearby closet. Bill felt Hopkins had the voice down but I heard a little Hannibal Lecter thrown in there so, to each his own. He didn’t seem to capture Alfred Hitchcock the way I remember him. He also looks more like an undertaker than Hitchcock did so, go figure.
Helen Mirren, even though she’s surrounded by young beauties such as Scarlet Johansson, Jessica Biel and Toni Colette, steals every scene. Her sex appeal is ageless. There’s something about the way she carries herself and how she flips a line that makes you think, wow, she is so damned beautiful. Let’s hear it for someone who clearly has had no plastic surgery. Her wrinkles wink through the screen as if to say, these, my friends, are my true trophies for what life has presented me.
She also looks awfully hot in her new red, Esther Williams style swim suit. When she leaps off the diving board she looks 20 as she swan-dives through the air.
Miss Scarlet, whose ass looks like it was made by Fredricks of Hollywood, doesn’t look a thing like Janet Leigh who she’s portraying but one gets over it since James D’Arcy, playing Anthony Perkins, doesn’t resemble him either. They didn’t go for lookalikes and if essence is what they were after I feel as if they’ve missed.
Alma was extremely important in all of Alfred’s filmmaking appearing as a 24/7 one-woman band: writer, reader, editor, cheerleader even though Alfred took all the bows along with every ounce of air in whatever room he was in.
He made her chronically jealous since he made no bones of admiring his parade of leading ladies. He even has a peep hole in his office to feed his ‘impulses,’ as he refers to them lying like a beached whale on a distracted shrink’s couch. Alma, who’s no dummy, feels old and discarded a good part of the time causing her to commence a flirtation with a 3rd rate writer played irritatingly perfect by Danny Huston, Angelica’s baby half-brother.
I especially liked how jealous Alfred becomes when he realizes she’s being blatantly wooed after agreeing to help him rewrite a screenplay that Alfred, after perusing it, calls a stillborn. Don’t hold back Hitch, tell us what you really think. Jealousy is always so interesting to observe. Suddenly Alma’s value shoots up at the mere inkling that someone else might find her attractive.
There’s a pathetic scene when you see the great Alfred Hitchcock standing in front of the fridge devouring one tin of fois gras after another to no doubt spite Alma who has him on a perennial celery and carrot diet. Take that Ducky while my heart gets ready to implode inside my fat chest.
Ah-ha, you think. Hitchcock was not only nuts but he had an eating disorder to boot.
Their union does get tender toward the end revealing the complicated underpinnings of their long hot and cold marriage.
There’s also a riveting moment during Psycho’s famous shower scene when he isn’t satisfied with Janet Leigh’s screams, so he grabs the knife from Anthony Perkins and starts flailing it himself. It’s only then we hear those blood gurgling shrieks one never quite forgets after seeing the film. If you haven’t seen it, let me warn you…you’ll take baths for the rest of your life.
All in all, Hitchcock is extremely entertaining. It’s not as good as last year’s My Life With Marilyn, but it surely has its moments and the way they depict the period in Hollywood is hauntingly perfect.
Helen Mirren, the size of the swimming pool and the 2 dogs named Jeffrey and Stanley are worth the price of admission.
Listen, to sit in the dark for an hour and a half leaving your problems outside the door is a blessed thing.
If only they had waiter service.