The Girl (2012)

<strong class="MovieTitle">The Girl</strong> (2012)

(On Cable TV, January 2013)  The example set by Alfred Hitchcock still looms large over the entire suspense genre, but as the years go by the filmmaker seems to be remembered more as a cultural icon than a man.  That makes him ripe for a re-interpretation:  The Girl uses the director’s troubled relationship with actress Tippi Hedren as a way to explore his weaknesses and the result is damning.  Here, Hitchcock is portrayed as an unapologetic harasser, blending unwelcome advances into the power dynamic between director and actress, abusing Hedren under the guise of filmmaking as a way to take revenge against her unwillingness to play along.  The Girl is obviously told from Hedren’s point of view –Sienna Miller spent some time with Hedren in preparation for her role, and Toby Jones seems fully committed to presenting an increasingly unlikable portrayal of the director.  For a TV (BBC/HBO) film, the film has acceptable production values and decent direction.  Both Miller and Jones turn in good performances, and film enthusiasts will appreciate both the recreation of The Birds’ shooting process alongside an unusual look at the dynamic between actor and director.  While Hitchcock’s portrayal here is one-sided (numerous other associates of the director have spoken against the film; the competing Hitchcock biopic is said to be more sympathetic), it’s certainly not uninteresting.  As such, the film warrants a look even as a dramatized exaggeration of real-life events: we may not know the true story, but the way it’s presented here is enough to make anyone wonder about what went on in 1960s Hollywood.

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