Hitchcock

  • Review Date: November 20, 2012
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2012

Common Sense Media says

Entertaining biopic focuses on Hitch's marriage and method.
  • Review Date: November 20, 2012
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2012

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Hitchcock is the story of the director's professional and personal journey to make one of the most important works of his career. The movie encourages artistic risks, commitment to your craft, and the importance of marital partnership and collaboration.

Positive role models

Alfred Hitchcock is a driven, visionary director who puts up his own funds to make the movie he feels destined to make. Alma Reville is an amazing wife and partner to him. She collaborates with him professionally, fills in for him when he's sick, and keeps him as sane as she can without sacrificing her entire identity. Even when she's tempted by an emotional connection to another man, she doesn't give in and stays loyal to Hitchcock. Janet Leigh gives Hitchcock the benefit of the doubt, even though she's warned about how tyrannical he can be with his leading ladies.

Violence

The murders of real-life serial killer Ed Gein are shown briefly -- from his first murder of his brother (via a hit to the head) to a bloodied dead woman he drags to a bathtub. There's also a scene in which Gein is shown sleeping with his dead mother. Psycho's infamous shower scene is depicted, with Hitchcock wielding a butcher's knife to make Leigh scream more convincingly.

Sex

Hitchcock stares through a peep hole at an actress undressing. Leigh's ample bosom is discussed (like the fact that one frame shows her nipple in the shower scene), and she, Alma, and Vera Miles are all shown in their period undergarments (cone-shaped bras, full-coverage underwear, and slips). Alma and Alfred hug and kiss a couple of times. A married man is shown mid-affair (groping and kissing a woman who's in her bra and panties). There's a brief shot of two actors filming a love scene on a bed (she's in lingerie, he's shirtless).

Language

Language includes "damn," "crap," "hell," "oh my God," "queer" (to describe actor Anthony Perkins), and insults like "corpulent," "fat," "ass," etc.

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Hitchcock is portrayed as a near-alcoholic who drinks in almost every scene of the movie. He often hides liquor from his wife.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Hitchcock isn't a full biopic of legendary director Alfred Hitchcock but rather a snippet of his personal and professional life as he made one of his most famous movies, Psycho. There are a few scenes of disturbing violence: the murder of a brother; a dead, bloody woman being dragged into a bathtub, and a killer who sleeps with his dead mother. The frightening shower scene from Psycho is depicted, with Hitchcock himself holding the butcher knife to elicit realistic screams from actress Janet Leigh. The language is comparatively mild ("ass," "damn"), but there are allusions to infidelity and sexual obsession, plus shots of kissing, groping, and women in their underwear.

Parents say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

Kids say

What's the story?

In 1959, Alfred Hitchcock (Anthony Hopkins) -- considered the master of suspense -- was 60 and looking for a new project. Tired of making the same kind of films, he found his inspiration in a bestselling but macabre "true crime" book, Psycho. Unfortunately, the executives at Paramount Pictures didn't want to greenlight the movie, so Hitchcock agreed to fund Psycho himself (mortgaging his mansion) in exchange for distribution. The movie depicts his process for casting and making the difficult-to-shoot horror film, as his relationship with wife/collaborator Alma Reville (Helen Mirren) suffered under the strain of his work and his obsessions with food, drink, and his blonde leading ladies.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Audiences hoping for a substantive look at what motivated Alfred Hitchcock or even why he was known for being so tyrannical and controlling (especially of his beautiful starlets, often called "Hitchcock blondes") may be disappointed. Director Sacha Gervasi offers not a sweeping biography of the English genre master but a brilliantly acted look at Hitchcock's marital life and personal demons during the development and making of Psycho. In the same way that HBO's John Adams is really the story of John and Abigail, so HITCHCOCK is actually the portrait of the fascinating marriage and partnership between Hitch and Alma.

The acting, as you'd expect from Academy Award winners Hopkins and Mirren, is absolutely top notch. As Hitch, Hopkins is corpulent and hedonistic and self-absorbed, while Mirren's Alma is his rock, his nursemaid, his first and final and most important editor and critic. A trio of fine actresses play the different women who supported Hitch through the Psycho shoot -- Toni Collette, Scarlett Johansson (as Leigh), and Jessica Biel (as Vera Miles), while James D'Arcy is striking as the closeted and intense Anthony Perkins. One thematic thread (of the real Ed Gein repeatedly being in Hitchcock's mind) is unnecessary, but otherwise this is a smart, humorous tribute to the director and his ultimate muse, his wife.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how Hitchcock is about making a movie. In what ways has the movie industry changed since Hitchcock's time? How is it the same (for example, Hitchcock says a director is only ever as good as his last project)?

  • Is this really a biopic about Hitchcock or just a small glimpse of his life? What do we not know about Hitchcock? How could you find out more?

  • The relationship between Hitchcock and his wife is explored. What do you think of their marriage? Should Alma be credited with the making of Psycho?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:November 23, 2012
DVD release date:March 12, 2013
Cast:Anthony Hopkins, Helen Mirren, Scarlett Johansson
Director:Sacha Gervasi
Studio:Fox Searchlight
Genre:Drama
Run time:92 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:some violent images, sexual content and thematic material

This review of Hitchcock was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

Find out more

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.

See more about how we rate and review.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Teen, 14 years old Written byFILMCRITIC500 November 24, 2012
AGE
9
QUALITY
 

wonderous, epic, and excellent biopic movie focuses on Hitchcock's life during the making of Psycho

this wonderously made, wimsical drama about one of history's greatest directors is an all out blast for hardcore film buffs. sure, the relationship subplot will confuse them a bit, this biopic is a great, Oscar worthy treat that is OK for younger kids. this wimsical, heartwarming true story has little in the way of violence, sex, or drugs. there are some startling images of dead bodies and wounds, and one guy gets hit in the head with a shovel. during the showing of Psycho, you can hear the audience scream in terror. there is one use of dam*. Hitchcock smokes cigars.

What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 14 years old Written byerraggarn98 February 6, 2013
AGE
12
QUALITY
 

Enjoyable and a nice impression of Alfred Hitchcock

A nice movie. If you're a fan of Psycho then you'd probably LOVE this movie! There are flashes of violence and maybe even a little horror put in when Hitchcock has visions of the serial killer Ed Gein, the inspiration of Psycho. At the start of the movie a man is killed by Ed Gein but that is the only death you see in this movie ( I think ), Ed Gein kills the man by wacking him over the head with a shovel but there is no blood seen so it is not too violent. It is fairly enjoyable, it was hard to rate it out of 5, I'd rate it 3.5/5 but because we cant do half stars on this site I give it a 3/5

What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 16 years old Written byBestPicture1996 January 2, 2013
AGE
13
QUALITY
 

Average biopic, needs more Hitch

I'm a fan of Hitchcock's work, but the HBO movie "The Girl" portrayed him as an ultra-perverted mad genius monster. This film humanized him a bit, though he's still shown as unsmiling and occasionally ogling at women. The movie more takes a look at Hitch's relationship with his wife Alma, a role dwarfed in "The Girl." Helen Mirren plays her well, and deserves the praise she's getting, but I just wish there could be a Hitchcock movie about the MAN, not his wife or his leading blonds. Hitchcock is infinitely fascinating; why can't his life be dramatized?

What other families should know
Too much sex

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Top Kids' Movies: An Essential Guide for Families