Friday, February 23, 2018

Movie Review: "Suspicion" (1941)

Year Nominated: 1942
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Rating: NR
Oscar Nominations: 3
Oscar Wins: 1
Running Time: 1 hour, 39 minutes

A woman becomes increasingly suspicious of her husband's behavior and thinks he may be planning a crime to get the money to pay off his enormous debts.

You know, you should probably find out if the person you are in a relationship with has no money, has massive debts, has a gambling problem, or has any other terrible vices before you actually marry them...just thinking out loud.

"Suspicion" is directed by cinema legend Alfred Hitchcock. He has directed many iconic films including "Psycho," "Vertigo," "Rebecca," and "North by Northwest." This movie stars Joan Fontaine as Lina McLaidlaw, an heiress that Alfred Hitchcock would like us to believe is not a complete knockout. One day while riding the train, Lina meets a young playboy named Johnnie Aysgarth (Cary Grant). After a Sunday afternoon stroll one day, Lina falls madly in love with Johnnie. The two eventually get married and go on their honeymoon. As soon as they get back, Lina begins to learn some rather unsavory things about the man she wedded. She discovers that Johnnie is broke, has a gambling problem, and has a hefty amount of debt. As his behavior becomes increasingly more secretive, Lina starts to suspect Johnnie has more sinister intentions in mind in order to wipe his debt clean.

The first thing we thought while watching "Suspicion" is "wow, that escalated quickly." Lina goes from having just met Johnnie to deeply pining for him. She quickly falls madly in love with him and then they get married when it appears they have spent no more than a few minutes tor a few hours with each other at most. Talk about jumping in head first without looking! Of course, that lack of actual intimate knowledge or genuine friendship is required for this story to work. The fact that Lina married a man she hardly knows lends to her suspicions about him. All the things she learns are things someone should know before saying yes to marriage. Now she is stuck learning as she goes and already has too much in the pot to fold her cards and walk away.

When "Suspicion" first begins, it appears to be an average romantic comedy, the young "Hollywood frumpy girl" meets the dashing and devilishly charming playboy who is very worldly but is finally ready to settle down. There is a lot of humor and it all feels mostly like a light romance. Then, the second act starts and the lies and deceit pour in fast. We see Joan Fontaine's Lina struggle to come to terms with her husband's Johnnie's actions. She even begins to suspect him of planning a murder. It turns into this big suspense mystery, though Grant and Nigel Bruce are always lurking around to deliver a good quip or two to keep the comedy aspect alive. Fontaine is really brilliant in these moments of uncertainty. Her face is so expressive without saying a word. Fontaine does a wonderful job juggling numerous different emotions. She was so great, in fact, that she took home the Oscar for best actress for this role. Cary Grant is no slouch either. However, it's a role we've seen him play before, so we know he does it well.

Director Alfred Hitchcock had a real knack for creating films with compelling narratives and "Suspicion" is no exception. This was our first time watching this movie and we absolutely loved it.

My Rating: 8.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 8.5/10
IMDB's Rating: 7.4/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 96%
Do we recommend this movie: Yes!

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