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“Hitchcock” has celebrated its world-premiere at yesterday’s opening of the AFI Film Festival. Director Sacha Gervasi and actor James D’Arcy – who plays Anthony Perkins playing Norman Bates – were on hand at the premiere, the rest of the cast was absent unfortunately. But that didn’t stop the critics from enjoying the film, especially the lead performances by Hopkins and Mirren. A collection can be found below.
The Los Angeles Times, Glenn Whipp
Hopkins fills the master’s shoes and jowls as capably as you’d expect […] but it was Mirren who earned the evening’s biggest ovation, drawing a huge round of applause after a speech in which the long-suffering Reville dresses down Hitchcock, detailing the ways she tirelessly and endlessly supported her husband through their marriage.
Hitflix, Gregory Ellwood
Among the supporting actors, Johansson is fine as the pro’s pro in Janet Leigh, but there isn’t much of an arc to her character. Sadly, Toni Collette also doesn’t have much to do as Hitchcock’s longtime assistant Peggy Robertson and that makes you wonder if much of her performance is on the cutting room floor. Ralph Macchio is memorable in one short scene as screenwriter Joe Stefano. Jessica Biel has one of the few legitimate arcs among the supporting cast as Vera Miles, a onetime protégé of Hitchcock’s who has decided to take her life in another direction. Industry audiences and cinephiles will find much of the inside jokes about moviemaking entertaining, but it’s the performances of Hopkins and Mirren which will drive “Hitchcock” to successful returns on the art house circuit.
Indiewire, Charlie Schmidlin
Based on Stephen Rebello’s book, “Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho,” the source material proves there’s indeed a compelling story to be told here, but while Gervasi’s comedy-drama presses charmingly on this period in Hitchcock’s career, the film ultimately collapses under its own lightweight intentions of tribute turned romance. And while there are many relationships and aspects of Hitchcock’s life that provoke cinephilic glee, like his mid-production bickering with Peggy and Saul Bass (Wallace Langham), or the fevered arguments with Paramount over budget, Gervasi continually employs the hindsight method of historical storytelling; namely, using the audience’s present knowledge to telegraph a knowing chuckle from a character’s clueless perspective.
The Wrap, Mickey Glazer
“I think they liked it,” Gervasi told TheWrap. “They seemed to laugh, they seemed to applaud.” The audience did both for the surprisingly funny film. The AFI audience gave two applause breaks during the screening: one following a pivotal Mirren monologue and the other during an appropriately “Hitchcock” scene at the end, where the real action is heard, imagined and enjoyed but not seen. In another full circle, the film’s epilogue (non-spoiler) mentions that Hitchcock never won an Oscar, but did win the AFI’s Lifetime Achievement award in 1979.”