Movies often come along like buses, in just a few months the genius of one of the worlds most respected directors is taken into some grey areas. Alfred Hitchcock is the subject of two movies coming soon is Hitchcock (see review coming soon), but first comes the BBC/HBO movie The Girl.
While seeking out a new leading lady for his upcoming movie The Birds, Alma Hitchcock (Imelda Staunton) finds model Tippi Hedren (Sienna Miller) and recommends her to husband Alfred (Toby Jones). Having been warmed into the Hitchcock family, Tippi soon realises that Hitchcock or Hitch as he prefers wants more from her than her acting. So as art mimics life, the most twisted story of Alfred Hitchcock’s career begins, as Hitch and Hedren begin a dangerous game of cat and mouse across two movie projects.
Toby Jones is remarkable in both appearance and voice as Hitch, shut your eyes for just a second and you can honestly believe you are hearing the voice of the master. Jones’ performance of Hitch is utterly compelling, giving a mix of gritty aggression and an attempt to control and intimidate everything, to a vision of weakness, inferiority, and general lack of self-belief. While The Girl is without a doubt a much lower budget project than Hitchcock, Jones is a far superior Hitchcock than Anthony Hopkins.
For many The Girl will be a real eye opener, the story is far more thrilling from a suspense perspective than any of Hitchcock’s actual movies. The portrayal of Hitchcock is a million miles away from the image his fans were aware of during his heyday. The story based on a number of qualified witnesses over a period of time.
While you know nobody dies, The Girl is a very nervous viewing experience, its filled with suspense and at times utter disbelief at the audacity of the director in the way he deals with everyone who surrounds him. Close relationships are treated with less respect than new acquaintances, yet at his heart all Hitchcock wants is to feel true love.
The Girl was screened as part of BBC2’s Christmas season of movies, with a DVD release due for late spring.