But if "Hitchcock" isn't interested in a docudrama about the "Psycho" experience, it is interested in using the Hitchcocks' relationship as a means to explore the institutions of marriage (think of it as a prelude to Judd Apatow's upcoming "This is 40").
This is the same director, Sacha Gervasi, who made the entertaining documentary "Anvil, the Story of Anvil," about two feuding rockers who break up, make up and endure for the sake of their creative partnership.
It was an affecting story of compromise and love, and that's what Gervasi is after here. Hitchcock's temporary project is "Psycho," but his long-term project is his relationship with Alma.
His pseudo-romantic squabbles on set with Janet Leigh (Scarlett Johansson) and Vera Miles (Jessica Biel) are, we understand, part of the ongoing drama of the Hitchcock marriage - Alma learns to live with her husband's platonic (but compulsive) obsessions, as they are in the service of his art.
Hitchcock, meanwhile, tries to overlook his wife's flirtation with an attentive screenwriter (Danny Huston) for the same reason - when the chips are down, she's his most reliable editor/writer/producer.
Historically, it's probably nonsense, but it works well enough as a two-hander between old pros Hopkins and Mirren, who, incredibly, over their long stage and film careers and origins in the Royal Shakespeare Company, have never worked together. They have decent chemistry, and underscore the idea that for a marriage to work, you have to accept there are times when your partner is a bit of a psycho.