At the Movies

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You can't always judge a film by its title .That's true of the three I saw recently. If you don't want to be taken by surprise do read some reviews beforehand. But bear in mind that each movie critic will have their own opinion which may not match yours.


Hitchcock is not primarily a movie about Hitchcock the man or how he created his iconic masterpiece Psycho. Its main focus is on the portrayal of the Hitchcock's thorny marriage

At the beginning of the movie Hitchcock (played by Anthony Hopkins) is in despair when critics damn his latest movie. One reporter even suggests that at 60 he should quit while he is ahead. Hitchcock decides to fight back by taking a massive risk and embarking on something completely different: a horror movie based on a little known novel called Psycho that tells the story of a gruesome murder.

Hitchcock has neglected his wife Alma (played by Helen Mirren) over the years although she has loyally supported him and played a significant part in the making of his movies as his creative partner. When neither the Studio nor private investors can be found to finance the project she is willing to go as far as mortgaging their fabulous home so he can follow his dream.

Instead of showing gratitude he continuous to be grumpy and inattentive, refuses to adopt a healthier lifestyle, and carries on yet another flirtation with one of his leading ladies, a ravishing blonde

Alma has had enough. She seeks solace in the arms of a second rate movie script writer. The question then is: will this destroy the marriage or can it be saved?

Hopkins is a superb actor but the complicated man that Hitchcock was in reality never really fully emerges from under the layers of prosthetic face and body fat which he had to put on for this movie. It is Helen Mirren as Alma who steals the show with her pithy comments, and her ability to express the whole range of emotions which come into play in a troublesome marriage.

Those who saw Psycho in the sixties will enjoy finding out some of the background to the movie. And film buffs also will be fascinated to take a peek into how the film industry worked in the 1950's and the relationship between the artists, producers, studio bosses and censors.

It's an enjoyable romcom with plenty of drama, wit and humour and not nearly as intense as I had imagined it would be. Showing in theatres now.

The Silence of Love

Tous les Soleils, as it is called in France, is not a quiet meditative movie. The musical sound track is delightful.

The storyline is about Alessandro, a music professor from Strasbourg who has been a widower for 15 years but is still grieving for his wife. He struggles to accept that his fifteen year old daughter Irina is growing up and wants a life of her own .His brother Crampone who also lives with them is an eccentric artist and an anarchist with strong political views who contributes nothing to the household expenses. This leads to frequent altercations between the two brothers.

There are also some engaging subplots including one where Alessandro's mischievous brother and daughter are persuaded that if he had a new love in his life he would stop bugging them. They enrol him in an internet dating site without his knowledge and engage in a sensuous correspondence on his behalf which eventually leads to an unexpected amorous encounter.

As a volunteer reader in a hospital Alessandro reads regularly to terminally ill patients. His friendship with a gracious elderly woman is very poignant.

Despite the constant bickering between father and daughter and the two brothers there is a great deal of affection and humour between them. The movie has emotional depth and is very moving at times. As the lights went on there were a few tears in the house.

The Silence of Love is screening exclusively at Bridgeway Cinema in Northcote, Auckland now.

On Air

On Air is not mainly about a Talk Back Radio Show as you might expect from the title. We do occasionally see 40 year old Melina (the non de plume of Claire Martin who is a highly successful talk back host on French Radio) solving her listener's emotional and sexual problems with great sensitivity and style.

But the real focus of the movie is on Claire's private life. She is a very unhappy neurotic woman who hides away from her own problems. After her nightly shows she manages to keep her distance from an adoring public by locking herself in a closet in her apartment in a chic Parisian neighbourhood.

We follow her as she goes on a painful journey to unravel her past and to put her personal demons to rest by tracing her birth mother Joelle

Once she has located her her with the help of a detective agency she feels unable to introduce herself. But determined to get closer to her she sneakily enrols in a charity shop where her mother is also a volunteer and is gradually drawn into her mother's extended suburban family.

Here the elegant and antisocial Claire is like a fish out of water. To further complicate matters Joelle's stepson Lucas is attracted to this beautiful stranger and attempts to court her which adds another string to the plot.

Can the love between a birth mother who has long ago followed another path and her child be reignited or will it remain elusive? This is the problem that the movie explores. The process is uncomfortable and emotionally draining.

What made this movie well worth seeing was the excellent acting by the well-known French actress Karin Viard who plays the part of Claire. The fact that it is subtitled in French does not detract from an excellent performance. Showing in theatres now.