I have seen a few of Hitchcock’s movies, but last weekend I revisited Psycho, and I’m glad I did. The period of Hitchcock’s life in which Hitchcock focuses is on is when he is filming Psycho, as well as his relationship with his wife in general, and there were a few nods throughout to fans of the movie; the iconic shower scene is, of course, featured, but there were other winks throughout too.
Alfred Hitchcock (Anthony Hopkins) has just had a success with North by Northwest, and is looking for a new project to film. The book Psycho somehow gets to him, and he reads it and decides that he wants to make this his next movie; however, he first has to run it by Paramount and also “the censors” (the MPAA) – in one scene, the MPAA says he can film the shower scene but it must be “through a window, which must be frosted.” Meanwhile, his wife, Alma (Helen Mirren), is getting more and more annoyed at him, and she takes up writing with a fellow screenwriter, Whitfield Cook (Danny Huston), which “Hitch” doesn’t like at all; he thinks she’s having an affair. Apparently Hitch had always had “fantasy affairs” (strictly in his head) with his leading ladies, including Vera Miles (Jessica Biel), regardless of whether they are married or not, and Alma knows about these. The production is also two to three days behind schedule, and Hitch must get the cast and crew back on track and finish up Psycho so that it can be released to the public.
Anthony Hopkins was fantastic as Hitchcock in this movie. He definitely doesn’t look like himself. I’m not sure if it’s great prosthetics or if he’s in a “fat suit,” but it makes him look more like Hitchcock, for sure. A few times when there’s a close-up of his face it looks a little unnatural, but most of the time it’s easy to forget what he “really” looks like. Helen Mirren was also great as his wife, Alma, and Scarlett Johansson as Janet Leigh, the real-life person who plays the main female role in Psycho.
Yes, see this film. It helps if you’ve seen Psycho in the past or even give yourself a quick refresher viewing, like I did, as you will be able to pick up on more nods to the audience in the movie. I now want to see The Birds, which was a film he did shortly after Psycho; normally I avoid horror/scary movies but I’ve heard a lot about this one. I will not be surprised if Hopkins earns a nomination for his role in this film, and Mirren should hopefully get one as well. It’s always interesting to view a movie about a movie or real-life person, and Hitchcock does not disappoint for fans of the man and of his work.
Hitchcock is in theaters today, November 30th, and is rated PG-13 with a runtime of 98 minutes.
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5.