Special Review: HBO’s Made-for-TV Movie “The Girl”

Thank God for sexual harassment laws, huh?

My feelings on HBO’s movie The Girl ebbed and flowed throughout the hour-and-a-half runtime, but in the end, I thought it was as bland as its title. It had a lot of potential, but didn’t utilize its talents or its story to the fullest.

The film gave us an inside look at how &^!#$% up renowned director Alfred Hitchcock (Toby Jones) really was. It hones in on his relationship (though, “harassment” might be better suited here) with budding actress Tippi Hedron (Sienna Miller) during the making of Hitchcockian classic The Birds and, subsequently, the supposed masterpiece Marnie. Throughout the production of both films, Hitchcock subjected Hedron to crude jokes, propositions, and physical advances and put her through physical harm when he used live, wild birds in an attack scene of the lead character in The Birds.

To start, Toby Jones and Sienna Miller were both fantastic in their roles. I have to, particularly, give Miller some due credit because, up until this point, I was not familiar nor did I care to get familiar with any of her work. Jones epitomized Hitchcock. You really felt like you were watching the great director. Miller also captured well the disgust but also the determination that Hedron felt throughout her abusive tenure as Hitchcock’s leading lady.

I also have to call out the scene in which Hedron endures countless attacks from live birds as Hitchcock makes her film the scene over and over again. That was the most tense and anxious I have felt from a movie or TV show in a very long time. I was literally yelling, “oh my God!” at the screen. The scene does its job in making you realize that Hitchcock may have been the monster and madman that he so frequently made films about.

In the end, the movie gives a glimpse at both obsession and the price of fame, but it fails to do so in an interesting or meaningful way—it only grazes the surface instead of exploring beneath it. You sympathize for Hedron, but you also feel like she’s choosing to endure it by continuing to pursue fame. You despise Hitchcock, but you get no sense as to why he is the way he is and, moreover, why everyone around him looks the other way. It would have helped to see a little more of Hedron’s background and personal life as well.

Did you guys see The Girl? What were your thoughts?

One thought on “Special Review: HBO’s Made-for-TV Movie “The Girl”

  1. Ever since you told me about this made for TV movie, I was excited about what it had to offer. I tried to stick with the movie, but it couldn’t hold my interest. I’ve never been a fan of Sienna Miller and that might have had something to do with why I didn’t find “The Girl” interesting. I will say, Toby Jones did a phenomenal job as Hitchcock. He embodied the director in every way.

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