Hitchcock – Movie Review

Hitchcock.  It was a fascinating movie about the man, his wife, and the making of Psycho.  Anthony Hopkins was fantastic, and nearly unrecognizable.  Helen Mirren is always a favorite and did a great job as well as his well-spoken wife.  Here are some of the things I just loved about it:

  1. Their partnership.  She was often in the shadows, and she surely wasn’t given the recognition he received, but make no mistake, she was a critical part of his success…and (at least by the end of the story) he knew it.
  2. Hitchcock’s wife.  She was intelligent and confident and she balanced a remarkable ability to humbly choose her battles.  She let a lot of things go.  She wasn’t prone to jealousy or insecurity (such that she couldn’t master it), but she did know when to defend herself—and when she did speak up, she did so calmly, without bitterness, but loaded with strength, confidence and authority.
  3. Their risk taking, adventurous life.  Hitch wasn’t content to continue making the same films, even though it garnered a lot of money and success.  He wanted to do new things, to keep on the cutting edge.  He said, “We didn’t have a lot of money, or any time, but we had a lot of fun…took risks…I just want to feel that freedom again.”  He attempted Psycho later in his established career.  He could have coasted.  He had a formula that worked.  He could have stayed comfortable.  Instead, he took a huge risk with a new kind of film, funding it himself (with his house) because no one else would.  He tells his wife, “If this pictures fails…we’ll be in for a long, humiliating bout of crow eating.”
  4. The victory.  When the first cut of Psycho was obviously not going to be a success, his wife jumped in and said she liked her house and didn’t plan to lose it.  That’s when she jumped in to help him make his film a success.  Their teamwork and partnership was the key to the movie’s success.   A success which was all the sweeter because so much was on the line if they failed.

Questions for Discussion:

  • Hitchcock was sometimes prone to think that his success was due solely to his own genius, but no man is an island.  Who are the people who help you succeed?  Do you sometimes struggle to remember how critical they are in your success? 
  • How well do you choose your battles?  Do you feel a need to constantly defend and justify yourself?  When you do, do you do so with calm, confident strength, or do you unleash in hurt, anger and bitterness?  
  • There’s a fine line between being too cautious and foolishly risky—that balance is adventure.  Where in the spectrum does your life fall?  What do you believe in so much that you are willing to risk it all to see it happen?  Do you have anyone who believes in you so much they are willing to risk it all with you?
  • Victory is sweeter when it’s costly.  What have been your sweetest victories in life?  Is there anything you are sacrificing for now which, when it happens, will be a sweet, beautiful victory?

As I’ve shared my favorite highlights of the film, I would be remiss to leave this one out.  The best line of the movie came at the end, after Psycho’s unbelievably successful premier, when Hitchcock so sweetly, so tenderly, told his wife that of all the Hitchcock blondes (he was notoriously fascinated with his blonde female stars), she was the most beautiful of all.  She said she had been waiting thirty years to hear him say that.  And his perfect, wry reply was that “And that, my dear, is why they call me the master of suspense.”  Brilliant.

Review by Stacey Tuttle