The Girl (TV Movie 2012) Poster

(2012 TV Movie)

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6/10
fairly tedious
blanche-24 March 2013
Despite wonderful performances by Toby Jones and Sienna Miller, "The Girl," purporting to be the story of Hitchcock's obsession with Tippi Hedren, was tough going.

I'm getting a little tired of reading on the message board that Tippi Hedren "needed the money." I guess I'm unclear as to how she's cashed in on this story. Did she write the book? The screenplay? She gets a "thanks" in the credits. I have a thanks on a film's credit and I didn't get a cent. If she acted as a consultant, I doubt for a TV movie it would help her wildlife preserve much.

Hitchcock fans know several things: filming "The Birds" was a miserable experience for Hedren; Alfred Hitchcock was a brilliant, complicated man who probably had some sexual hangups; and Alfred Hitchcock had fallen for other leading ladies. However, those leading ladies remained friends with him (Bergman and Kelly) so one wonders if the way he is depicted in this film is correct. If someone tried to ram his tongue down my throat or recited dirty limericks to me or asked me to touch him, I'd have gone running.

The screenplay was criticized by one of the people who worked on the film and was interviewed, so you already know it's sensationalized.

In this version, Hitchcock falls for Tippi Hedren and makes her life a living hell after she rejects him. I have no idea if this happened or not. Toby Jones has again proved his gifts as a mimic - his Hitchcock is perfection, just as his Capote was. Sienna Miller is beautiful and strangely resembles Janet Leigh in this film! She did a good job playing a vapid actress.

The problem with the film is that it's skewed toward Hedren instead of telling a story in a balanced manner. The second problem is that even at 90 minutes it's too long with scene after scene of Tippi sighing over her bad treatment or someone commiserating with her over her bad treatment and scene after scene of Hitchcock staring at her and then plotting another way to torture her.

I had the pleasure of transcribing interviews that Donald Spoto did on his important book on Alfred Hitchcock, The Dark Side of Genius. I can testify that he worked for years on this book and left no stone unturned. I remember one part of the book, where Hitchcock is through with Hedren as an actress, saying, "She did the unimaginable -- she mentioned my WEIGHT." They didn't get along, that's evident. Hitchcock here is presented as a sicko whack job. Were that the case, he wouldn't have had so many people -- so many women -- working with him over and over again, which they did.

I suggest to people that if they want to know the whole story that they read Spoto's two books, Spellbound, about Hitchcock and his leading ladies, and The Dark Side of Genius. He is given to psychobabble but believe me, it's more interesting material than this. And if any of this is in his writing, you can believe it.

We are to believe in this movie that Hitchcock was hurtful and insulting to everyone, that he tortured, threw himself at, and belittled Tippi Hedren to such an extent that she made a second film with him. Yeah, that's what I would have done.

I'm guessing there might be a little more to this story that would possibly not present Ms. Hedren in the best light. I admire her very much for her work on her wildlife preserve, and in interviews, she always comes across as a lovely woman. That doesn't mean she is as shown in this film.

Hitchcock had his demons. Somehow Cary Grant, Grace Kelly, Ingrid Bergman, Teresa Wright, Janet Leigh, Vera Miles, and Barbara Harris got through it. Granted, they didn't have birds attacking them. They did, however, admire the genius behind the films.
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7/10
interesting movie that has generated disturbing criticisms
cherold8 December 2012
The Girl is an interesting movie about Hitchcock's obsession with Tippi Hedren as they made two movies together. It's stylishly made, with good performances. It is focused very much on Hitchcock's cruelty to Hedren.

My main objection to this movie is that its focus makes it rather unbalanced. Hedren herself says this. She says working with Hitchcock was great at first, and while the movie portrays her as dealing with one indignity after another, she says this was only really a problem toward the end of Marnie. It might have been interesting to see more of Hitchock's process - I liked the scene where he helps her work on her lines - but it's a short movie and they had a story to tell.

What is more interesting than the movie is its detractors here. While some people just don't find The Girl interesting, the vast majority seem to dislike it because they don't believe it. Some reviews will even say they're not invested in Hitchcock's reputation, but then follow it up by saying they don't believe this happened.

First off, the movie is based on information from a book by a respected biography writer, based on what he was told by both Hedren and those who worked with her. And Hitchcock was certainly a dark, obsessive, and sometimes cruel (witness his vicious "practical jokes") person. His movies are about obsessions and cruelty, so it would hardly be surprising if he acted poorly with his actress.

Yet, many of the movie's critics express outrage that Hitchcock's name is being besmirched. They say Hedren lied; that she is just trying to scapegoat Hitchcock for her lack of major successes after the Hitchcock films. They say she couldn't act. They say she should have been grateful that Hitchcock gave her a career.

There is a phrase I don't like, because it sounds extremist and harsh and overly politically correct, but that I increasingly realize accurately describes something, and that is "rape culture," the idea that sexual harassment and attacks on women are so ingrained in our society that they aren't even seen as abnormal. The reactions to this movie seem to me examples of this. What is the difference between saying Hedren lied about Hitchcock and the claims that a woman lies about being raped? What does her acting ability have to do with anything? (And what are people basing their assessment on? I suspect most of us have only seen her in two movies, made by a director who got exactly the performances he wanted from his actors).

Many people are saying,essentially, "he didn't do it, and if he did do it, she deserved it."

Look, I understand that people feel a need to defend great artists, but many great artists are not especially great people. That's inevitable; art often comes from a strange place. Don't attack the victim because you think the aggressor was a cool dude.
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There once was a man from Nantucket
tieman647 July 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Directed by Julian Jarrold, "The Girl" documents the alleged sexual and psychological abuse of actress Tippi Hedren (Sienna Miller) at the hands of acclaimed film director Alfred Hitchcock (Toby Jones).

Some have complained that "The Girl" engages in character assassination, and that it unfairly portrays Hitchcock as an abusive pervert. This is mostly irrelevant. Miller and Jones are unconvincing as Hedren and Hitchcock, their characters are superficially written and the film's central metaphor – that the productions of Hitchcock's "Marnie" and "The Birds" were deliberate attempts at indirect or symbolic rape – are silly. More importantly, the film's version of Hitchcock never convinces as either an obsessive control freak or sexually dysfunctional abuser; this is not how such personalities behave. "The Girl's" problem is not that it character assassinates Alfred Hitchcock, but that it trivialises and distorts what real psychological and sexual abuse looks like and how real victims and abusers look and behave when locked in such relationships.

Ironically, Hitchcock's own films were superb at chronicling how women are abused and buffeted about by patriarchal forces. Hitchcock may have fetishized women, may have turned them into trinkets and ornaments, but his films were often explicitly about the problems of such psychic and literal violence. "The Girl", in contrast, is just bad art.

5/10 - Worth one viewing.
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4/10
Pretty Shoddy.
rmax30482320 October 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Poor Tippi Hedren. She's a pretty, blond model from the Minnesota flatlands who is adopted, groomed, publicized, manipulated, groped, and finally propositioned by the great Alfred Hitchcock. The fat old Hitchcock is played by Toby Jones, who gives the only half-way believable performance in the movie, quite aside from his physical and vocal reincarnation of Hitch.

The lousy script gives him a few moments of humanity, which come across more as self pity than pathos. But otherwise he's domineering, stingy sadist who subjects Hedren to dozens of takes in "The Birds" in which live birds are forced to attack her. She endures bird bites. Her only reward -- celebrity, cinematic immortality, and a salary that was about a million times what you and I make. I felt sympathy for her mistreatment but would have traded places with her in an instant. As a result of this abuse, she's directed by her doctor to take five days off. Everyone on the set frets because this is costing money. But when she's recovered, she swings onto the set, flings away her coat, faces the camera with a brave grin, and announces, "Let's finish this movie." Everyone on the set applauds her dedication and courage.

The direction matches the script and the acting. The screen is full of monstrous and very meaningful close ups. In case you might miss the importance of a particular point, the camera dollies in for that close up. They're usually of Hitch's stony face or Hedren's frightened one.

Donald Spoto, who wrote a candid but sympathetic biography of Hitchcock, was a script consultant and, by and large, the story follows historical reality, in so far as that can be determined through the testimony of Tippi Hedren. It's her story, and both Hitchcock and most of his friends are now dead and in no position to object. Of the private encounters between Hedren and Hitch, I believe about half.

I don't know why it was left out of the script but by the end of "Marnie," Hedren's second film with Hitchcock, Hitch was guzzling booze by the barrel. Well, it's not exactly left out. There is one scene of Hitch drunk.

But why go on? This shabby affair doesn't deserve more attention.
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8/10
Getting Hitched
tomsview7 August 2013
Wow! Is that really what happened? In many biographies about Alfred Hitchcock, the most Tippi Hedren ever said about the incident when Alfred Hitchcock supposedly propositioned her was, "Demands were made of me that I could not acquiesce to." But in "The Girl", Toby Jones' Hitchcock puts it right out there when he says to Sienna Miller's Tippi Hedren, "From now on, I want you to make yourself sexually available to me at all times. Whatever I want you to do, whenever I want you to do it."

Possibly it happened that way, Tippi Hedren seems to have been consulted by the filmmakers. My feeling is that where there was that much smoke there had to be fire, but just how fair is "The Girl"?

The movie is nothing less than interesting. Toby Jones is amazing, and Sienna Miller more than holds her own, but opinion over the film is divided. On one side are those outraged that Hitchcock's reputation has been besmirched without a chance to defend himself, while on the other are those outraged at what Hitchcock appears to have done to Tippi Hedren.

"The Girl" relates how Alfred Hitchcock groomed the inexperienced Hedren to star in "The Birds" and "Marnie". During the process, Hitchcock changed from mentor to monster becoming totally obsessed with her. Eventually he made an overt sexual advance. She refused and that was the end of the relationship.

One scene in "The Girl" does undermine it. It's the somewhat salacious screen test where Hitchcock asks Hedren to give Martin Balsam a long lingering kiss. Unfortunately for the makers of "The Girl", the actual test clip is fairly well known from documentaries and YouTube, and is a lot less threatening than the recreation. In reality, Balsam and Hedren actually seem quite comfortable with each other. It was silly to overdo a scene that is so accessible; it leaves you wondering how much over-egging went on with the rest of the custard.

The difference between Hedren and Hitchcock's other leading ladies was that they were better able to handle him. Most were established stars, surrounded by husbands, boyfriends and agents, but Hedren didn't have all that; she was just starting out and was far more vulnerable.

According to some sources, it was about this time that Hitchcock's judgement also seemed to be slipping. The suppressed voyeuristic tendencies and fantasies that helped inform his great films were taking on a harder edge. He now wanted to be explicit in what he showed.

Up until then, the Motion Picture Production Code kept him in check. Would films like "Rear Window", "Vertigo" or even "Psycho" be the enduring classics they are today if Hitchcock had been allowed to go all the way? The censor made him innovative and subtle. However, by the late 60's the Code was gone. No one ever ranks 1972's "Frenzy" among his greatest movies; plenty of rape and nudity on display there. Fortunately he never made "Kaleidoscope"; with what he had planned, it could have been a real legend killer.

As far as "The Girl" is concerned, maybe it's best to just enjoy the show. Toby Jones' Hitchcock is even better than his Truman Capote, genius really, the voice is perfect, and Sienna Miller is so beautiful that you can believe that a fat, old auteur could harbour a fantasy or two about her. But maybe the last words on the subject could be the classic line Hitchcock once directed at an actor who was getting a bit too worked up about things, "Don't worry, it's only a movie".
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Pretty Useless Look at Hitch and "The Girl"
Michael_Elliott7 December 2012
The Girl (2012)

** (out of 4)

HBO movie about the working relationship between Alfred Hitchcock (Toby Jones) and Tippi Hedren (Sienna Miller) while making THE BIRDS and MARNIE. The film focuses in on Hitchcock's mental and sexual abuse of the actress who blames the director for her career never taking off. THE GIRL has hit with all sorts of controversy with people attacking it for trying to ruin Hitchcock's legacy and others attacking Hedren for coming up with this stories after years of talking about how great the director was. I guess we'll never really know what happened between the two but it's pretty clear by watching this movie that it didn't make for any entertainment. THE GIRL could have made for an interesting psychological thriller but what we get is pretty much a gossip film that has nothing going for it. It seems like the only thing this film tried to do was show Hitchcock as an ugly man both physically and in the way that he treated women. Watching this film you learn absolutely nothing about Hitchcock or this so-called obsession with Hendren. Did Hitch do this to other actresses? Why was Hitch so obsessed with Hedren? These are two important things that are never mentioned here and the only thing we are told is that this happened. THE GIRL is so short on any sort of information that the entire thing just comes across as an attempt to show a legend as a pervert. Again, if this really happened then I have no problem with a movie being made about it. The problem is that director Julian Jarrold has delivered a lifeless, boring mess that just doesn't add up to anything. Both Jones and Miller do what they can with decent performances but neither can overcome the screenplay. The best thing going in the film is the make-up job done to Jones. THE GIRL might lure people in wanting to see what all the controversy is about but I can't see too many sticking around to the end.
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1/10
A decent film... had it not been supposedly 'based on reality'
couzijn3 December 2017
Because a vote of 1 means 'awful' in IMDb terms, and because I find this movie actually 'awful', I cannot but give it a vote of 1.

Which is a shame, really, because if this movie had been purely fictional, it would have been a decent film with an interesting, albeit somewhat weird plot, and a screenplay that left something to desire. I might have given it a '5' then.

But the fact is that the makers of, and contributors to this movie knew full well, as does their audience, that the premise of this movie is decidedly NOT fictional, but envisions to portray 'real life events'. Here starts the 'awful' feeling for me.

At the end of the day, there is not a shred of proof that the events as displayed in this movie actually happened. And the makers know that. It is not just a case of 'personal opinion', like it is not a case of 'personal opinion' whether Kennedy was murdered, or that Harvey Weinstein attempted to take advantage of young actresses.

By portraying Alfred Hitchcock in this sensationalist light, and making bucks out of it, the makers deliberately hurt the memory of a man who is not around to protest anymore. The makers should have asked themselves: would we dare to make this movie, in this way, had the man been still alive? Would the evidence weigh up to the doubt and the protest? And they would have concluded that it wouldn't. The fact that they dared make this movie now Hitch is dead, shows a cowardly attitude behind it.

Why then, you ask me, is it unlikely that the events portrayed in the movie ever happened? For starters: because the many, many people who were around at the time vehemently deny any misbehavior ever happened, and just as vehemently assert that these events were *very* unlikely to happen with the Hitchcock they knew. The other actors, the other set personnel, the people close to Hitch, Mrs. Hedren's assistants, no one ever came to the fore with anything substantial that corroborates Hedren's story; instead they deny it, or at least deem it unlikely it happened without them noticing it.

Second, Hedren kept her mouth shut for many decades. That would be somewhat credible if during that time, she hadn't given such praise and devoted such warm words to her experience with Hitchcock in the mean time - which she did. It was only at the end of her career, which was not particularly successful, and only after Hitchcock was dead & gone, and only after Donald Spoto interviewed her for his Hichcock biography, that she told this narrative of an 'abusive' Hitchcock. As if she needed a reason why her career post-Hitchcock never took off - a reason outside of herself.

Thirdly, because there is ample material evidence that refute important elements in Hedren's narrative. There is a trainload of contemporary documentation (business correspondence, personal letters, media publications) that prove Hedren's memory wrong. You can get a good taste of that on the website SaveHitchcock.com, which attempts to provide objective information about the actual events. Here is a good place to start: a rebuttal to Hedren's recently published Memoirs: https://savehitchcock.com/2016/10/19/tippi-a-memoir/

In sum, this movie is a cowardly attempt to discredit and vilify a great director and a great personality, who is vulnerable because he cannot defend himself from accusations of sexual predatorism, which are based on hearsay from exactly one source.

I don't find it troubling that a single disappointed actor (Hedren) at a certain point in her life chose to follow this path; she is the only one to know her reasons for it, and whether they are honest or not. Yet I do find it disappointing that a large group of professionals in the movie industry chose to make money from trampling on someone's corpse by making this very one-sided movie. And most of all I find it troubling that the American audience seems to love it, falls for this manipulation of history, and appears to embrace this sensationalist story with a vengeance.

I am glad that Hitch is not around anymore to live through this totally undeserved character assassination.
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6/10
All of the pieces are in place for a great movie....except the story
funwithstardestroyers25 November 2012
I stumbled across this one day while scanning through the channels. I saw "Hitchcock" in the description, so I decided to have a look. Now I'll admit, I don't know all that much about Hitchcock. I know he's a great director, but I know next to nothing about his personal life or any controversy that may have lead to this movie. Instead I focused on the movie itself. After watching, I decided to look it up, where I came across the rather large controversy that this film has created. So here's my humble take on the film.

"The Girl" is a brilliant film from a mechanical standpoint. The acting is brilliant. Toby Jones sounds almost IDENTICAL to Hitchcock. It was really quite eerie to listen to the two. He seemed to capture the mannerisms from the director quite well. Sienna Miller was okay, but was a bit dry in some parts. Otherwise it was a fine group of actors. Likewise, directing, cinematography and editing were all exceptional, so why does this film fail?

A question I have instead of all the "is this a true story?" is, if you have all of the makings of a great film-a great cast, a great director, great camera-work-why base the story on such a controversial and doubtful series of events? Why not use the tools you have to make a biopic of sorts? This is what baffles me. If this film had followed a different story, it would probably have a much better rating. Everything points to a successful film EXCEPT the story, so why do it?

I suppose this is the problem with film these days. People are more concerned about the shock factor than an actual quality film. It's a shame too, because this could have been much, much better and free from controversy.
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5/10
Unpleasant motives
Skint11117 January 2013
As Total Film magazine said of this one-off drama, "it amounts to nothing less than a wholesale character assassination". They were right – it makes Albert Goldman's biography of John Lennon appear hagiographic.

While it looks great and Sienna Miller is fine as Hedren and Jones captures Hitch's voice well, The Girl is a narrow and nasty portrayal of the world's greatest film director. In its attempt to construct a drama it forgets some important points: people often have to suffer for their art; Alfred Hitchcock was a film director who knew his audience better than anyone, his understanding of the human condition was deep, and he realised that the thing that mattered most was the experience that the audience would derive from his work. If it meant discomfort and long hours on the set, that was a price worth paying – there's no room for fluffy dressing gowns and tea and biscuit breaks when you're trying to create a masterpiece, something that might last for centuries.

To suggest that Hitch unexpectedly sent a model bird crashing through a telephone box window just to terrify and "punish" Hedren, as opposed to being a desire to frighten the wits out of the audience, is absurd. The shoot of The Birds had been meticulously planned for – literally – years, and in any case, why would Hitch risk harming his leading lady's features? The greatest of people are endowed with light and shade, and possess the ability to view human existence from deep and differing positions. Hitchcock was one of these people. This greatness is something to be lauded – not bemoaned and belittled, as was the case with The Girl.
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8/10
Insight into a complex man
syd99074 November 2012
Warning: Spoilers
***Spoiler Alert*** ***Spoiler Alert***

I had the pleasure of meeting several people who worked with Alfred Hitchcock on The Birds, Marnie and one of his earlier films, The Man Who Knew Too Much. I was writing a thesis on Hitchcock and wanted to get a little more information on his personal life. All of the people I spoke with,long before this movie was made, said that Hitchcock was absolutely incessant and relentless in his pursuit of Tippi Hedren and she tried to rebuff him as politely as she could. But he made her life a living Hell. And yes he did ruin her career. He made it impossible for her to work and it was all because she wouldn't succumb to his harassment. They all said that with his genius, there was a very evil and dark side to his personality.

After watching The Girl, it mirrored closely what I was told by each one of the people I interviewed for my thesis. Just because someone is a brilliant auteur doesn't mean that you know them personally. I thought the movie was fair and sometimes the truth about someone is ugly. Toby Jones is superb as Hitchcock and Sienna Miller captured the essence of Hedren. Overall, I felt that the movie is very much up to HBO's high production values. And I would recommend this film to anyone who wants to see a riveting story about power, lust and strength.
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3/10
Insult to a Great Artist
demetrius1130 March 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Alfred Hitchcock is a brilliant artist well deserving of the recognition he received for his movies. Having read a dozen books on his life and work, I know he got over-excited with blonds, but I have never read that he was a half-mad rapist wannabe. This is how this libelous film depicts that master of suspense. For some reason the creator of this movie decided to present the -average- Tippi Hedren as a heroine, and the -amazing- Hitch as a villainous director who tries to use the "poor girl" as a sex slave. I find that a film like this insults the memory of a person who is not present to defend his honor and reputation. Unless the creators of this movie can present testimonies that incriminate the deceased beyond any doubt, I can not see how they can make such a film with no consequences. The reason that I rated this with a 3 instead of a 1, is because the actors are very good (much better that the recent "Hitchcock" with Anthony Hopkins), and the direction is also quite good !
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1/10
The Girl...a hatchet job
clivechristy-549-2029698 December 2012
This movie is in the vein of Mommie Dearest, but without the high camp hilarity and cat fights in the sunken lounge. The entire lumbering disaster should have been called The Fractured Fairy tales of T. Hedren, and it's clear from the start she is a victim. Tippi Hedren is a victim of her beauty, kindness, generosity of spirit and of course her sheer naïveté. Of course, it's nonsense...but not even unintentionally funny nonsense. It takes itself so seriously (like Hedren herself) although for what reason, I have no idea. Toby Jones and Imelda Staunton are good, but they are the only bright lights in a movie that is so underacted and underwhelming that it's painful to watch. Staunton is reduced to a mere cliché but works hard to give her character and the memory of Alma Hitchcock some gravitas.

Now to Sienna Miller, who has all the acting skills of lumber and runs the gamut of emotions from A to B. She is closest dramatically to Hedren herself who seems to blame Hitchcock for her premature career death. What is Miller's excuse for her inexorable and agonizing inability to act? She cannot blame Hitchcock...so I wonder who she does blame. Granted, she has a slim script and so many close ups of her face which is intended for her to emote. However her face is so botoxed, she has no emotion and instead just looks weepy and slack-jawed. It's funny really....Sienna Miller has virtually no acting skills but at least she could be relied on to use her face to give some meaning to her roles. Take that away...and she is a moving speaking coat hanger for replica fashions and an overworked wardrobe department.

The script is clunky, slow and overwrought. The scenes of bad acting are strung together with no apparent connection or rationale and the long lingering camera shots of Sienna with her blank face and shabby accent make the film even less watchable. The final scene where Hitchcock asks Hedren to make herself "sexually available" to him is one of the most unintentionally crass and sloppy scenes in the film, and leads to the claim that Hedren has made repeatedly that it was Hitchcock who ruined her career.

After watching this clunker with Miller as Hedren, it's clear the reason Hedren failed was because she just couldn't act. There is a line, where according to Hedren, Hitch took a "..living breathing woman and turned her into a statue." Perhaps this is the most honest line in the entire film. Both Hedren and Miller have all the acting skills of a statue without the benefits of a statue's silence.
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3/10
Water Muddied by Boorish Performance
ricburger28 October 2012
Warning: Spoilers
I love movies about making movies. Unfortunately this one is not for me. This is supposed to be based on real events, and while I am not saying these events didn't happen. I just can't buy it. While the writing certainly was part of the problem, it is the awful performance of Toby Jones as Alfred Hitchcock that brings the movie down. Whether or not Hitchcock actually harassed Tippi Hendren isn't the issue I have here. It's believing that the fiend doing it in this film is actually Alfred Hitchcock. Look I know that Hitchcock was famous for his gallows humor and a love of dirty jokes and limericks, but the movie has Tippi Hendren as the only one who is hearing any of these remarks. In addition Toby Jones comes across as a boorish piece of wood in his portrayal of the master of the macabre. Because of this I simply can't buy this story at all.
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3/10
As miscast as Hedren was in "The Birds", that's nothing compared to Sienna Miller as "The Girl"...
moonspinner5527 June 2014
Well-enough produced cable-film, adapted from Donald Spoto's book "Spellbound by Beauty: Alfred Hitchcock and his Leading Ladies", seems to have been made simply to show off the sadistic antics of filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock, something most film-buffs are already aware of from books--better ones than Spoto's--and from Hollywood folklore. Hitchcock's wife and confidant, Alma (Imelda Staunton) is the first to spot model Tippi Hedren on television and recommends her to Hitch for the lead in his next thriller, "The Birds"; smitten with the Swedish blonde, he grooms her, trains her, seduces her (clumsily, it appears) and amuses himself by shocking her. Just because Sienna Miller has been given the correct shade of blonde hair to play Hedren does not mean she is well-cast; sparkling, girlishly innocuous and effusive, Sienna's Tippi begins the film-within-the-film as an eager newcomer ("I'm putty in your hands!" she flirtatiously tells Hitchcock) but is soon staring numbly out car windows or complaining about her working hours...and it doesn't wash. So much care has been given to the production design that apparently no one thought to craft a convincing character here--or to cast an ideal actress in the role. The real Tippi Hedren was a mannered ice-queen who spoke with a haughty cadence; Miller sashays inside of strides, and smiles from ear to ear when paid a compliment. And if she's miscast, than Toby Jones is her unfortunate equal as Hitchcock. Jones looks like Hitch from the back, but his facial features are too small and he speaks far too rapidly. Much of the blame can be placed upon Julian Jarrold's uncommitted direction. Jarrold probably did his homework--and probably took delight in the performances his actors were giving--but he's all style. He knows the song by heart but he's sadly out of tune.
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Tacky, Tawdry Blemish on Hitchock Legacy
gradyharp21 October 2012
After sitting through this long soap opera of a film that is supposed to be a quasi- documentary on the seamier side of Alfred Hitchcock's personality we're left wondering how this tacky film ever made it to the screen. What's more, how did actors of the quality of talent of those involved in the major roles ever consent to appear in this mess of a film?

Gwyneth Hughes wrote this bit of yellow journalism and Julian Jarrold directed. The idea is that Alfred Hitchcock (Toby Jones) had a thing for blonds and his success as a director and writer was completely enhanced by the support of his faithful wife Alma (Imelda Staunton) who tolerated and supported Hitch's scouting for blonds to cast in his final films. Searching for the perfect blonde for his film 'The Birds' he sees a photo of a model - Tippi Hedron (Sienna Miler) – and invites the inexperienced actress to star in his film. Tippi is supported by Alma and by Hitch's right hand person Peggy Robertson (Penelope Wilton) and is groomed for her initiation into the role of movie star. Hitch, despite his impotency problem, is enamored with Tippi and tries to make physical advances which Tippi refuses: her young daughter Melanie (who turned out to be Melanie Griffith in future years) absorbs her evening attentions. Tippi performs for Hitch and is doing well until Hitch decides to use real birds for the climatic scene in the horror film – a move that results in some serious injuries to Tippi as well as a chance to reconsider her future in film. But Hitch wins her back by promising her the lead in his next (and final) film "Marnie' which was supposed to star the indisposed Grace Kelly. And the film goes on through the end of the filming of 'Marnie' with changes in the life of Hitch and by that time our attention span is depleted.

Toby Jones, Sienna Miller, Imelda Staunton and Penelope Wilton give the film their all and the supporting cast is adequate, but the story is uninvolving and lens to the trashy side of cinema biography.

Grady Harp
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An important note about this film.....
Cinetech30 November 2012
Probably all of this film is a complete lie, but in all of the reviews both internal and external, the critics have overlooked an amazing thing that seems to have gone unnoticed by most....The actor portraying Hitchcock is wearing flawless silicone gel filled prosthetics over almost every inch of his face and neck...he doesn't look exactly like Hitchcock, but the prosthetics are blended flawlessly and are truly believable. The film itself is completely ridiculous, and anyone who would believe that Tippi Hedren was actually being tortured by birds in take after take is either very simple minded or has no idea as to the way films are actually made...Tippi Hedren was a lukewarm actress who was angry that she could never get work after these films and has convinced herself that it must have been Hitch who was behind her failure, when it was actually the simple fact that she wasn't very good at all.
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4/10
The Girl is Essentially for the Birds **
edwagreen24 October 2012
Warning: Spoilers
The film focuses on the obsessive relation devised in his mind by Alfred Hitchock, well played by Toby Jones, towards actress Tippi Hedren, who captures his very essence. Even his walk reminded me of Hitchcock's famous silhouette.

Hitchcock comes across as that boring type of person who is inflamed by blonde women and he seems to want to find lust with the Hedren character.

The problem here is with the writing. As Hitchcock always came across as dull, this invariably seeps into the writing.

If it weren't for the fact that Jones was so serious in his undertakings, you could almost think of his performance in a totally comical way. Someone such as Carol Burnett would have had a field day spoofing this film.

You wonder what Hitchock must have put actresses through. No wonder Dame Judith Anderson was so good in 1940's "Rebecca." Hitchcock came across as an intense director willing to put Hedren through hell as we saw with the scene when the birds attack her and he orders retake after retake.

He thinks he is building a crescendo in their relationship when he professes love to her with the background of Richard Wagner's Tristan and Isolde music blaring.
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6/10
Rear Window Into The Soul
LeonLouisRicci22 October 2012
As most film buffs are aware, Alfred Hitchcock was a known voyeur and that kink was evident in most of his films and the Director was able to channel that obsession for creative and successful movies. The art form itself is genuinely, by nature, produced to satisfy the voyeuristic tendencies of the audience. No one knew that better than Hitch.

It is also known that he liked blonds with a cool demeanor. But to just what extent he used his leverage over these actresses was not very clear. According to Tippi Hedren, if we are to believe her accounts, this made for HBO Movie is truth told to power (posthumously).

This is an old Hollywood story that used to be referred to as "the casting couch". Here we have an impotent Hitch groping and demanding obedience "available to me in all i desire", a determined, sad old man, that uses his on set Direction to "torture" her with repeated, dangerous and humiliating takes of a scene in The Birds (1963).

But she is a strong and resilient woman who would make another movie, Marnie (1964) with Alfie and then fade to black. The movie makes its points in a straightforward, blemishes and all, account that is well acted by all and, surprisingly, without any flourishes that made Hitchcock a legendary film maker.

It is a sympathetic portrayal of a beautiful woman and a flawed, fat and ugly, powerful man. A Beauty and the Beast story. Not a pleasant situation about an unpleasant, but talented man.
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8/10
Maybe not entirely understood if you don't know much about Hitch
MdlndeHond23 October 2012
Usually I don't refer to former reviews but I'm a little appalled by the mentality of the public where one apparently should put up with abuse if one wants to make it in the business where beauty is all. Hitchcock died in 1980 but some born in the 90ies seem to remember him so vividly to critique Jones performance of him. Biopics are the hardest to do because there is an original of the character. This movie depicts very well the increasingly abusive relationship of Hitchcock towards Hedren. Hitchcock who suffered many frustrations over this life due to his obesity and missed out on the regular relationships we all take for granted. He firmly believed in directing every move by his actors resenting method acting which sometimes is misunderstood for a general dislike for actors. In Hedrens case it gave him the opportunity to abuse her on the scene without anybody putting an end to it. The contracts she was under had her locked with him for multiple years. Hitch liked to own his people.
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9/10
Response to those who doubt validity of story
lokidog18 April 2014
First, this is an excellent bit of film. It draws you into it's story with witty dialogue, excellent acting, and great cinematography. However one of the main criticisms of this story hinges on the somewhat negative portrayal of Hitchcock. This is not created out of thin air. Tippi Hedren has on many occasions told these stories - and many have backed her up. Others have also mentioned similar examples of Hitchcock's eccentricities, especially related to his female stars. There are many other stories about his disdain for actors in general (he was perhaps the opposite of an actor's director - though there are many others who have worse reputations!) This takes nothing away from Hitchcock as a film-maker. It simply means people are complicated. This film is one perspective on a set of relationships and can't, as a dramatic film, really be objective. However, it does not completely trash Hitchcock - it's actually more sympathetic than some. He was clever, charming, creative, witty, and talented, but also could be conceited, vindictive, and even vulnerable.
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6/10
The Girl
dalydj-918-25517522 October 2012
Warning: Spoilers
In the mind of Tippi Hedren on of Hitchcock's most known blonde's for how she says he treated her which ended up in ending her career after she left him. In the film Alfred Hitchcok (Tony Jones) has come of the recent success of Psycho now wants to make his follow up The Birds. While watching TV Alma (Imelda Staunton) notices a blonde named Tippi Hedren (Sienna Miller) in a commercial, she gets called in to audition and ends up getting the main part. Everything seems to be going OK when filming begins but soon Hitchcock's real ambitions start to show, they start when he kisses her in the back of limo which she did not want to happen causing her to run away in anger. The film then takes a strange turn from there as we see Hitchcock start to punish her especially when filming the attic scene her changes the schedule from one day with fake birds to five days and real birds attacking her. As filming continues he still try's to push closer to her but she try's to stop it from happening. The two stars also film Marne which is the last film they make together, one of the final scenes happens after a scene from Marne is filmed Tippi comes into Hitch's office and he tells her that she will now give into his sexual desires, when she turns down this offer he says he will ruin her career (which he did). The ending scene of the film is filled with happiness and sadness as Tippi finally feels free while Hitchcock feels sad that he has put this women through the ringers, this is the only moment that changed the character of Hitchcock as he is written as just pure creepy evil while Tippi is written as an antihero as she has many chances to stop it all but gives in because she feels that's what she must do for her career. Toby Jones once again plays a famous figure as someone else in the same year (He played Capote the year PSH won the Oscar), his performance of Hitchcock doesn't change much which means he is able to nail it in the first couple of minutes continuing through the film to play a character without any development maybe at the end when he sees the girl go away. Sienna Miller has never been known for her acting skills but with her performance of Tippi Hedren I was surprised how much I connected with the performance. She played Tippi as a scared women who thinks she cannot do anything. If you look at actual film of these two film Sienna does a great job of recreating some of these scenes. The film had many problems because the story seemed very unrealistic and underdeveloped only trying to get us to believe one story in what Hedren said instead of what Hitchcock might have said.

MOVIE GRADE: C (MVP: Sienna Miller)
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10/10
Absolutely superb film about Hedren and Hitchcock
richwgriffin-227-17663521 November 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Three amazing performances (Sienna Miller, Toby Jones and Imelda Staunton), superb direction, writing, camera-work, sets, costumes - a compact film about the relationship between model turned actress Tippi Hedren and the legendary filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock as they work on the films "The Birds" and "Marnie" (btw, the real Tippi Hedren gives a superb performance in the latter film, which is an underrated masterpiece). Tippi was the last of Hitchcock's blondes (he worked with Julie Andrews, Anna Massey, Barbara Leigh-Hunt, Barbara Harris and Karen Black in his last four movies). Women had to put up with all sorts of sexual harassment and as Tippi articulates so well "I can deal with it, I've always been able to deal with it". One sided love affairs may be one sided but they are certainly painful, often for both participants.

I also want to give bravos to the design team - cinematographer, art directors, costume designer, editor, and especially the director, who all do superlative work. I certainly hope all of these people get Emmy nominations for their work (this was an HBO original, made for television), especially Sienna Miller, who gives an incredibly complex and vivid performance. I also appreciated the running time; this is a compact film that stays on subject throughout...

Also, I don't feel much sympathy for Hitchcock. He has power and he abused his power. He was a great commercial filmmaker - one of my personal favorites (I especially love his English films) - but having a great talent doesn't mean one can sexually harass the women who work for you.
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7/10
You must be a Fan of Hitchcock or Hedren to enjoy this.....
Unknownian20 October 2012
I'm glad this story has finally been told and Mr. Hitchcock is exposed for what he truly was......a pathetic, obese, horny man that used his Hollywood Power inappropriately. The stories of his behavior have been rumored and whispered for years; and even in this media on her Bio page, Tippi Hedren does more than just hint at Hitchcock's indiscretions toward her during the filming of The Birds, and Marnie. She was a major consultant on this movie, so I assume that what you see here is pretty close to actual events; if not on the button.

It's very difficult to recommend this movie to others because I tend to think that anyone that isn't a Fan of Hitchcock movies, or Tippi Hedren, or at least The Birds, or her second film with him: Marnie, will fall asleep in the first 15 minutes. However, if you are a fan as I am of Hedren, you will enjoy it very much for the history lesson and pure curiosity. The Director here does a good job getting the viewer to feel the torture Hedren endured working with Hitchcock on these two movies. Also, it's set in the 60s, and those of us that would probably be fans of the films or the people involved, grew up in that era and would enjoy this film even more as a period piece. I would rate it as a 7, but can understand how those unfamiliar or uninterested in the subject matter before hand could rate it much lower. So in summary: Watch it if you are a Fan of Him, The Birds, Marnie, or Hedren......Otherwise avoid it.
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1/10
Dreadful
memberofwellknownband27 December 2012
The director of 'The Girl', perhaps contrary to his or her intention, cannot be all that unsympathetic to a man who himself helped pioneer the theory of the auteur: an overbearing authorial influence upon the subject matter. However, while Hitchcock generated truth through style, this director has attempted the opposite, and has made a pitiful attempt to knock a hero off his perch. At least, in a kind of medical training purposes way, the dissociation between truth and style can allow us to see just what kind of synthesis produces an ideal director in Hitchcock, and what leaves another without even deserving the privilege of a name. Perhaps the most worrying thing about this disgrace, which unfortunately renders it difficult to simply forget about, is the fact that this imposition of a creative subject comes not from an individual but from society. We are a culture that is increasingly unwilling to allow art its autonomy. This can be seen in our quest to uncover and expose the private lives and root out the anti-socialities of our most gifted artists. Think Pete Doherty and Amy Winehouse. The most intellectually steadfast of us will cheekily claim it is a form of cathartic postmodern regicide, but it is the very notion of a celebrity culture which demands that all those with a right to be famous should also be witty, entertaining, and above all responsible. What will they do next- A film claiming Shakespeare didn't even write his own works? Oh... What is at issue in this biopic are not the facts but the way they are presented. The various comments of 'what a vile man!' and 'I didn't know he was such a bully!' What are they a response to? Is it a logical, deductive method of reasoning whereby the purported truths represented by the film are bracketed and morally scrutinized? Or are they an affective response generated whenever a sullen troglodyte of a man exits stage left to the sound of a cello mourning for the fate of his next victim? But perhaps that is the point. Who's the first person you tell if you want to tell your story of sexual abuse? A screenwriter of course. The more stylised the more infallible. Right? Wrong. The intentions of the film would be better served having gauged and interpreted the concept of realism within cinema. Instead, this representation of Hitchcock follows the same logic that saw the Vikings as men running around wilfully with devil horns on their head. He tried to seduce an actress? Lets position him over there in that shadow! This poisonous element of modern culture attempting to undermine the integrity of one of the greatest ever film-makers even threatens to make its way into his (surely unquestionable!) artistic talents. His artistic vision is shown to be a meandering, contingent approach to film-making. Anyone who has ever seen Hitchcock interviewed will note at once the eloquence of his discourse and clarity of his thought, generating an aesthetic vision both substantially developed and ambitiously projected. Yet this genius is shown to be always in question. We are shown actresses who doubt the logic of a scene, a wife who apparently has a hand in the decision process, and the filming of the birds' attic scene which replace creative perfectionism with a personal vendetta. This is taking artistic liberties too far, and completely negates any suggestion of a truth content that may have been generated. I only hope the message I have gleaned – 'The Girl' as case study in how not to do it – is one collectively received. But I very much doubt it. I only hope those foolish enough to be led along by the affective manoeuvring of the 'biopic' are also unaware that such a man as 'Hitch' ever existed, hence a cancelling out of ignorances, but that an evil fictional man played by Toby Jones tried it on with a beautiful fictional woman played by Sienna Miller. Yet perhaps this is after all the best way to see it.
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7/10
Fascinating insights but not flattering to Hitchcock
phd_travel20 May 2013
This TV movie looks at Alfred Hitchcock's obsession with Tippi Hedren during the making of the Birds.

This is quite fascinating compared to the film "Hitchcock" starring Anthony Hopkins. It shows Hitchcock's obsession with his leading ladies in a more predatory abusive nature than the Hopkins movie. Wonder which is closer to the truth? Sienna Miller doesn't look much like Tippi - she has a harder look but she does a good job. Toby looks more like Hitch than Anthony Hopkins.

Watch "The Birds" first and then watch this. The peek a the behind the scenes creative process is fascinating for Hitchcock fans.
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