Hitchcock is a movie about the making of a movie. In the past movies of this sort have not been giant crowd pleasers so the initial response by audiences considering the film might be negative. But as soon as word of mouth gets around about the superior acting and the enjoyable plot then the crowds should pick up.
Hitchcock is not an overall biographical look at the life of famed director Alfred Hitchcock, but rather is a study of a fixed time period in his life. This is done in much the same way Lincoln focuses on the fixed period of time when Lincoln was working on getting the Thirteenth Amendment passed. Hitchcock deals with time period involved in the making of the movie Psycho.
After Hitchcock (Anthony Hopkins) completed the film North By Northwest he was at the top of his game. Some thought his best days were behind since he had now entered his sixties, but this only inspired him to reach greater heights. To do this he decided to make a film of the book Psycho but his studio, Paramount, wanted another North By Northwest.
The procedure by which Hitchcock proceeded to make Psycho makes up the bulk of the film. But there is another story unfolding and it involves the love story between Hitchcock and his wife Alma (Helen Mirren). Married for many years she has always been his strong silent partner, but has always worked in the background while he got all the credit. Now she is ready to assert herself and become more of a part of his world.
The acting in this film is phenomenal with Hopkins being brilliant and Mirren being even more so. These are two titans of talent volleying back and forth the words of a masterful script by John J McLaughlin. Each actor makes the other actor stronger and their scenes together are the best.
Tribute must also be paid to the talent of Scarlett Johansson. She takes the innocuous role of Janet Leigh, the "star" of Psycho, and makes it totally unique. Her sweetness and light are notes perfectly struck to bring a true portrait of the actress to the screen.
Also adding to the mix is Danny Huston as the writer Whitfield Cook. This character has an oily persona that oozes from his pores. Huston captures the pretense behind each smile and kindly gesture and gives us a villain for the piece.
The film is rated PG-13 for profanity, violent images and sexual situations.
Hopkins and Mirren take what could have been an ordinary film and elevate it to the status of one of the year's best. Hitchcock would be proud.
I scored Hitchcock a directed 8 out of 10.