TV Movie Review: The Girl (2012)

Posted: December 17, 2013 in Drama

the girl

In 1961, Alfred Hitchcock (Tobey Jones) hired model turned actress Tippi Hedren (Sienna Miller) to do the movie The Birds, one of the most coveted roles in Hollywood.  After hiring Tippi,  Hitchcock becomes very possessive of her.   One day, while driving to the set of The Birds, Hitchcock attacks Hedron and leaves her shaken.  After the physical abuse, Hitchcock starts with the psychological torture.  Instead of doing one day on set with fake birds, Hitchcock puts Hedron on a set with live birds who peck at her face for five days.  The abuse gets so bad that Hedron asks Hitchcock’s wife, Alma, (Imelda Staunton) to talk to Hitch about his behavior, but Alma is unwilling or unable to change his behavior.  The abuse gets so bad, that Hedron walks off the set of The Birds and shuts down production.  Not only does Hedron come back and finish The Birds, she also signs up to do Marnie with him, by the time Marnie is done, Hedron has reached her limit, does she break her contract with the man who discovered her?

It is impossible to know what happened between Hedron and Hitchcock.  There are differing stories depending on who is asked. Hedron is adamant that the abuse happened, and Hitchcock is not around to defend himself.  The question is, is this movie compelling enough to watch?  The answer is a resounding yes.  Toby Jones plays Hitchcock with a creepy resonance, the voice is so close to the real Hitchcock’s voice that it’s chilling.  It’s more than that, I always imagined Hitchcock to be a cold, sexually repressed person.  To direct the movies he did, in the way that he did, he had to have some issues.  Toby Jones performance brings those character flaws to the forefront.  Sienna Miller does something interesting with the Tippi Hedron character, she makes her both victim and manipulator, dyeing her hair and then lying about it, and then acting surprised when she god the part.  It was a very complex portrayal.

The pacing is slow, because there is not a lot to tell, once the abuse or pattern of abuse is established, there is just more abuse heaped on, and the movie does not really move on from there.  The allegations by Hedron are irrelevant, what anyone thinks of Hitchcock is irrelevant.  The acting is what is relevant, and Toby Jones and Sienna Miller is what makes this movie rise above Hitchcock, the other biopic about Hitch.  That movie was bland and uninteresting, this is anything but bland.

The Girl.  What’s it all about Alfie?

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