Is Hitchcock Psycho?, Film Review by James Stevens

Hitchcock is a biography/drama, set in 1959 Hollywood, California, starring Anthony Hopkins and Helen Mirren as Alfred Hitchcock and wife Alma Reville respectively. Both lead actors portray their character with believable accuracy. A great supporting cast, which includes Scarlett Johansson as Janet Leigh, Danny Huston as Whitfield Cook, and Jessica Biel as Vera Miles, are critical in making the story come to life.

A “larger than life” personality, Hitchcock has, when he commands an audience. His personal life, however, is filled with insecurities (revealed  when he confronts Alma about her interest in a certain writer, Whitfield Cook), voyeurism (spying on Vera Miles in her dressing room), gluttony (several scenes with a refrigerator), and some psychotic, or maybe genius, encounters with a man who stuffed his own mother. With all of this stirring in his mind, he makes the movie Psycho with hopes that it will sustain  his filmmaking career and revive his relationship with Alma.

The musical scores, by Danny Elfman, are typical “Hitchcock”. Being strongly dominated by stringed instruments, they set a mood of suspense within the right scenes or a softer feel when trying to convey the feelings between lovers.

The wardrobe looks straight out of the nineteen-fifties with below-the-knee skirts, high necklines, and horned-rimmed glasses. All of which reinforced the personalities and sometimes the emotions of the character wearing them: the predominate shades of white for Janet Leigh and her “good girl” image; the wool tweed for Vera Miles, suggesting  her wanting the role of a homemaker rather than a movie star; Alma’s impulse purchase of a red bathing suit when she feels empowered and sexually attractive again; and the always slimming black suit, that is so iconic for Alfred Hitchcock, never distracts from what’s going on in his mind.

I would definitely recommend this film to anyone that is an Alfred Hitchcock fan. It kept my attention until the very end, even with the unnecessary beach scene with Alma and Whit. More attention to the production process of Psycho would have been nice, but overall an enjoyable movie.


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