‘Hitchcock’: The Reviews Are In!

Critics praise the cast but lament the focus on Hitch's demons.

Sacha Gervasi (“Anvil! The Story of Anvil”) makes his narrative directorial debut with “Hitchcock,” which depicts the legendary filmmaker’s quest to make “Psycho” with the help of his wife, Alma Reville. Fox Searchlight is billing “Hitchcock” as a love story.

Though largely satisfied with the performances, critics are bothered by scenes that dramatize Alfred Hitchcock’s inner turmoil. They want more “Psycho” moments and less insight into Hitchcock’s own psyche. Check out the reviews!

The Plot
“The story is essentially that of a determined artist fighting to make his film over the objections of the studios, the censors, and the press, but it’s presented in such a way that the audience is expected to laugh at those benighted individuals who could possibly object to the making of a masterpiece like ‘Psycho.’ After all, with 50-plus years of hindsight, we know better. Similarly, Gervasi and screenwriter John J. McLaughlin’s presentation of the actual making of the movie is replete with things that everyone already know about ‘Psycho’ and little else.” — Andrew Schenker, Slant

The Inspiration
“A series of pointless dream/fantasy interludes show Hitchcock consorting with Ed Gein (Michael Wincott), the serial killer who served as the real-life inspiration for Norman Bates, as if only someone a little nutty himself could have made a great film out of ‘Psycho.’ Similarly, the famous shower scene, the making of which could furnish its own movie, has been ludicrously dramatized so as to emphasize the helmer’s alleged emotional instability on the set.” — Justin Chang, Variety

The Star
“The foregrounding of Hitch’s character benefits greatly from a brilliantly kooky turn by Anthony Hopkins, whose diction and stiff pose wonderfully inhabit Hitchcock’s peculiar physicality. At the same time, the emphasis on Hitch the man versus Hitch the filmmaker only carries the movie so far.” — Eric Kohn, Indiewire

The Supporting Cast
“Of the film’s stars, Scarlett Johansson gives Janet Leigh an openness and game quality that is very appealing; Jessica Biel portrays Vera Miles as a woman who, having incurred her director’s wrath by dropping out of the lead in ‘Vertigo’ at the last minute due to pregnancy, can’t wait to get out of her contract with him; and James D’Arcy is physically right and all nervous quirks and uncertainties as Anthony Perkins. Toni Collette’s character of Peggy Robertson, Hitchcock’s perennially loyal right hand in his office, doesn’t quite get her due.” — Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter

The Final Word
“Many of Alfred Hitchcock’s movies, from ‘Psycho’ to ‘Vertigo’ to ‘Rear Window,’ are about voyeurism, so the idea of peering into Hitchcock’s own previously hidden private life does make a certain amount of sense. But if ‘Hitchcock’ resonates with some of the Master of Suspense’s ideas, it’s never faithful to his spirit. Hitch would never have put his name on a film so full of lame pop psychology and so bereft of excitement, tension and humor. Which is a shame, since the title of this movie is his name.” — Matt Singer, ScreenCrush

Check out everything we’ve got on “Hitchcock.”