The Girl offers a look at the relationship between famed filmmaker, Alfred Hitchcock, and Tippi Hedren.
While casting for his next big film, Alfred Hitchcock (Toby Jones) discovers a beautiful, blonde, young model by the name of Tippi Hedren (Sienna Miller). Hitchcock and his wife, Alma (Imelda Staunton) hire Hedren and inform her that the next film will be Hitchcock’s biggest production yet, The Birds. Hitchcock slowly begins to obsess over Hedren and she continuously stops his sexual advances throughout the shooting of The Birds as well as Marnie.
The Girl, a made-for-TV movie that aired on HBO is based on the biographical works of Donald Spoto. Spoto apparently wrote a biography of Alfred Hitchcock while he was alive, but shortly after his death published a scathing, vindictive biography and then published the work that The Girl takes its material from. I only mention this because throughout The Girl, motives are inferred or implied that I simply was not able to connect the dots. In one particular scene, after Hedren has lost all her patience with Hitchcock’s advances, they are shooting the attic scene for The Birds. In what was supposed to be a day-long shoot with mostly fake birds, it stretches to five days and many real birds. Now, The Girl makes it seem that Hitchcock is doing this out of spite for Hedren not sleeping with him but I see it as a director not satisfied with the results of the shoot.
The attic scene was the point in The Girl where I really started questioning everything I was watching. I absolutely believe that Hitchcock had a creepy obsession with Hedren and probably did try to sleep with her even, but everything else seems exaggerated almost to the point of slander. It’s a shame too, because even if Hitchcock was torturing the poor actress for not sleeping with him, it’s presented in almost a villainous, comic book way. *shot of birds near a screaming, bloodied Hedren* *zoom in on Hitchcock’s face with an evil sneer, writhing his hands in enjoyment*
The plot of The Girl had me gripped for the beginning and even until the end, though by that point I was calling BS on almost everything shown. Even more gripping were the lead actors; Jones plays a great Hitchcock and surprisingly Sienna Miller gives a fantastic performance. I’ve never been impressed by her work before, but she is definitely on my radar now. A few years back I felt bad for Jones because he was playing Truman Capote in a film around the same time that Philip Seymour Hoffman was and Hoffman was clearly superior. Now, he’s playing Hitchcock with Anthony Hopkins also playing Hitch in the upcoming film, Hitchcock. Time will tell who plays a better Hitchcock.
The Girl is not a bad movie, it just seems a bit misguided. Even if the source material was entirely true, the film isn’t terrifically interesting, though I still found it entertaining. Watch The Girl for the performances, but take everything else with a huge grain of salt.
I give it 3 Jones/Miller vs. Hitchcock/Hedren shots out of 5.