Michael wasn’t feeling well, so we stayed home last night. A movie always perks us up, and we had a choice: Wes Anderson’s critically acclaimed “Moonrise Kingdom,” which was On Demand, and HBO’s premiere of “The Girl,” the film based on Tippi Hedren’s not-so-wonderful experience as Alfred Hitchcock’s obsession. We went with Tippi.
I don’t often use the word “lugubrious,” but that’s the one that comes to mind after seeing this movie. It’s relentlessly grim, creepily so.
We learn – if we didn’t know already – that Hitch had a thing for Tippi, plucked the young model out of obscurity to be his latest “Hitchcock blonde” following in the high heels of Grace Kelly, Eva Marie Saint and Kim Novak, gave her the starring role in “The Birds,” and tormented her because she wouldn’t sleep with him.
That torment took the form of physical abuse during the scene in “The Birds” where Tippi’s character, Melanie Daniels, gets pecked by birds in the attic. Hitch had planned to use mechanical birds, but since Tippi wouldn’t return his affection, he unleashed real ones on her and traumatized her. I’ll probably never watch this scene the same way after seeing “The Girl.”
Hitch destroyed Hedren’s career when she understandably wanted out of her contract, and to her credit she never whined publicly but rather carried on her life. The problem with “The Girl,” despite the good work of Sienna Miller, who plays Hedren, and Toby Jones, who gets the look and voice of Hitchcock to a “T,” the story has no nuance, no break from the creepiness. I’m assuming there were moments when Alfred Hitchcock was charming, even amusing, and yet we never see them. He’s a monster, a weirdo, a sadist. Period.
Hedren herself comes off as a brave, dignified woman who didn’t buckle under when pressured. Good for her. But as entertainment? “The Girl” was for the birds.
Toby Jones is the wonderful British actor who played Truman Capote, and here he gets the look and the speech of Hitchcock perfectly. Sienna