HBO premiered its Alfred Hitchcock vs. Tippi Hedren flick "The Girl" at the Hamptons International Film Festival this past weekend. Early reviews hint that while the film set during the filming of "The Birds" entertains, it doesn't quite satisfy in terms of character development. Toby Jones' portrayal of Alfred Hitchcock is praised across the board, while critics say that Sienna Miller is passable if not notable. The film avoids the horror tropes that the master of suspense was known for, instead aiming to reveal the psychological underpinnings of the main characters. At the TCA critics' panel, Hedren called Hitchcock "evil and deviant."
Fox Searchlight will release its more positive take on Hitchcock (Anthony Hopkins) and collaborator/wife Alma Reville (Helen Mirren), "Hitchcock," on November 23.
David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter
This account of the obsessive master/muse relationship between Alfred Hitchcock and Tippi Hedren entertains but falls short on psychological insight… The script doesn’t quite build Hedron into a three-dimensional character, but Miller makes a suitably beguiling prey to Jones’ predator while still showing enough backbone not to fall completely victim to the puppet-master’s power games.
Drew Taylor, The Playlist
While it has a brief running time and a whole lot of personal Hitchcock narrative to squeeze in (including the production of the second movie that Hedren and Hitchcock did together, in spite of everything, "Marnie"), the film feels thin and uninvolving. Besides the conspicuously low budget (the photography is flat and the audio tinny), "The Girl" seems doggedly uninterested in exploring Hedren's emotional interior.
Matt Patches, Hollywood.com
Toby Jones is astounding as Hitchcock, conjuring up the charm on the surface and unearthing Hitchcock's twisted center that would occasionally bubble to the top. Jones' Hitch is plagued by his physical insecurities and, in turn, capitalizes on his clout to muscle others. The actor disappears into Hitchcock's voice and mannerisms, but they're never prohibitive of Jones layered performance. Miller, who has been out of the spotlight for a few years, plays Hedren like one of the blonde bombshells that would turn up in the Hitchcock's own films. Hedren's not fleshed out like Hitchcock, but Miller bounces back and forth gracefully…