The film's version of Alfred Hitchcock (Anthony Hopkins) and his beloved wife Alma Reville (Helen Mirren), as they were making Psycho
is filled with so many fabrications that it is useless as a biopic. Still, credit is due to screenwriter John McLaughlin (who also wrote the Tommy Lee Jones comedy Man of the House
, as well as Parker
, an upcoming Jason Statham actioner) for efficiently constructing a digestible film set against a story that should only be of interest to extreme cinephiles: the particular challenges of making Psycho
. Conflict arrives in the form of a smarmy hack writer (Danny Huston) who schmoozes up to Alma, ostensibly for her editing talents but also for her influence over her husband. Something tells us that the real Alma would have sent this clown packing in 20 seconds. More egregious than this invented flirtation is the depiction of Hitchcock peeping on his actresses from a hole in his office. The result is a dumbed-down gargoyle in the place of a complicated, brilliant and far-from-perfect man. The film deserves credit, however, for emphasizing the role of Alma Reville in this relationship that was both a marriage and a creative partnership.