Anthony Hopkins 'lives' role of Hitchcock in droll bio-pic

Hopkins hasn't had this much fun in years, but Helen Mirren is the secret heroine of 'Hitchcock'

LAST UPDATED AT 07:27 ON Fri 8 Feb 2013

What you need to know
Sacha Gervasi's bio-pic Hitchcock, based on Stephen Rebello's non-fiction book Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho, opens in UK cinemas today.

The film focuses on the relationship between director Hitchcock (played by Anthony Hopkins), his wife Alma Reville (Helen Mirren), and Janet Leigh ( Scarlett Johansson), the star of Hitchcock's controversial horror movie Psycho.

It follows Hitchcock's mounting crisis as his riskiest film project begins to take a toll on his personal and professional life. James D'Arcy appears in the role of Anthony Perkins, the actor who played the psychopath in the 1960 film.

What the critics like
This biopic is "absorbing and aptly droll", says Todd McCarthy in the Hollywood Reporter. Hitchcock might be a work of fantasy and speculation as much as it is history and biography, but as an interpretation of a major talent's inner life and imagination, "it's undeniably lively and provocative".

Anthony Hopkins "hasn't had this much fun in years", says John Patterson in The Guardian. "Pink, pale, blinking and blimpish", he lives the role of Hitchcock. Mirren matches him, becoming the film's "secret heroine".

Hopkins replicates the Master of Suspense's lofty humour, poignant inhibition, and creative fury in this "lively, peculiarly engaging docudrama", says Richard Brody in the New Yorker.

What they don't like
Hopkins is more entertaining than convincing, and while Hitchcock has plenty of comic pleasures, it only succeeds in revealing the surface, says Ian Nathan in Empire. This is "Hitchcock for dummies: brisk, jolly, well-played but oversimplified". · 

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