The movie is not a "biopic" but rather portrays the time of Hitchcock's career while he was making the movie Psycho for Paramount.
The heart of the film, I would say was showing how his wife Alma was instrumental in his success both emotionally, spiritually, and mentally. This is a strange angle to come into a Hitchcock film after seeing HBO's movie The Girl. That movie portrays the time of making Hitchcock's The Birds (that came directly after Psycho). In The Girl, Hitchcock spends the whole time being lecherous and creepy and Alma is portrayed very much on the sidelines. So in this movie, I kept expecting Hitchcock to attack his leading lady Janet Leigh (played by Scarlett Johanssen) especially during the scene in the car when she gives him a lift home (below).
Now I'm a big Hitchcock fan and have seen many of his movies and have taught Psycho in my film class. So one of the best things about the film for me was knowing what they were talking about the whole movie. I can't imagine what the movie experience would be like if it was your introduction to Hitchcock. I'd hate it that newbies would go away thinking he wasn't a genius.
Out of all the performances, my personal favorite was Toni Collette as Hitchcock's secretary, Peggy Robertson. I found her most fascinating. She wasn't a shy mousy thing but someone really good at giving Hitchcock looks of disbelief. Not to say Anthony Hopkins and Helen Mirren weren't amazing. They were.
Toni Collette as Hitch's secretary, Peggy Robertson
I got teary-eyed at the end when it is written on the screen that Hitchcock never got an Oscar in his lifetime. I think it's because I really want to be a creative type too. This film definitely inspires that sort of thing.