TV review: The Girl

By Columbus Alive
From the October 18, 2012 edition

Alfred Hitchcock was a master of dark storytelling, but his darkest tale may have been his own. “The Girl” tells the story of Hitchcock’s (Toby Jones) obsession with Tippi Hedren (Sienna Miller) during the filming of “The Birds” and “Marnie.”

Hedren had been a successful model, but never acted. Hitchcock wanted an unknown for “The Birds” because he felt the winged creatures were the true stars. After seeing the stunning Hedren in a commercial, he knew he had to have her.

Hitchcock, and his wife Alma (Imelda Staunton), spent months sculpting Hedren into his ideal leading lady. Hedren was initially grateful for the interest of the seminal director, but as he became more and more obsessive she began to repel his attention. Once Hitchcock made a sexual advance, the relationship was completely fractured.

“The Girl” is a compelling, often disturbing, look at one of Hitchcock’s dirty little secrets. Both Miller and Jones give strong performances, and there are some incredibly tense moments between the two. Watching Hedren suffer through five days of live birds being thrown at her for the most infamous scene from “The Birds” while Hitchcock silently observes is uncomfortable, but also captivating.

From the acting and the stylistic direction to the wonderful costumes and sets, much of “The Girl” is excellent, but it’s often just Hedren’s tragic story. There are no major flaws — and I fully recommend it — but I felt a little worn down after seeing all that Hedren had to endure.