The Girl [2012] (10/29/12)

The Girl [2012]Movie Two Hundred Forty Five

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.

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Cinema Verite (1/19/12)

Cinema VeriteMovie Ten

Cinema Verite is a movie based on events that really happened in the 70s. I think it’s safe to assume everything in the movie actually occurred but I would say it is still somewhat fictionalized.

In the movie, Cinema Verite, we have a pseudo behind-the-scenes look at the creation, filming, and general turmoil behind the 1973 PBS documentary series An American Family. The original show is largely credited as starting what we know as ‘reality television’. The cameras follow around a normal sort of family and all the regular drama that goes along with life.

I have never seen the original series and I still enjoyed watching Cinema Verite. After I was done watching I scoured the Internet to find out more and get information about who the family members and crew were. This is kind of the downside of the movie; If you go in knowing nothing there are still lots of gaps when the credits start rolling. If you go in knowing everything about the show I’m not sure if you would really get much out of it.

The performances are all solid and I especially like watching James Gandolfini on the screen. Since Cinema Verite is an HBO original movie, I would suggest trying to catch it on the air if you are an HBO subscriber. While I was watching it I was fully committed to it but I was left wanting more, and not in a good way.

I give it 3 bearded Gandolfinis out of 5.

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