Hitchcock

Movie review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
Hitchcock Movie Poster Image
Entertaining biopic focuses on Hitch's marriage and method.
  • PG-13
  • 2012
  • 92 minutes

Parents say

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Kids say

age 12+
Based on 4 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

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 & Representations

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
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.

What 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.

User Reviews

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Teen, 14 years old Written byFILMCRITIC500 November 24, 2012

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... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written byBestPicture1996 January 2, 2013

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... Continue reading

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?

Audiences hoping for a substantive look at what motivated Hitchcock or even why he was known for being so tyrannical and controlling (especially of his beautiful starlets) 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.

Talk to your kids 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

For kids who love true stories

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