Vertigo

Vertigo ★★★★★

99/100

Presumably you don't need me to explain why Vertigo is a masterpiece. (Only legit criticisms I can make: Judy's abandoned letter is a slightly clumsy expository device, and I don't really believe that she would've been either dumb or clueless enough to wear the necklace.) As I get older, though, I become more and more emotionally invested in Midge, and fascinated by Hitchcock's simultaneously tender and ruthless treatment of her. Used to think Bel Geddes had stealthily undermined efforts to make Midge a smothering maternal figure, someone to be mocked and pitied; still consider her performance a marvel of throwaway longing—almost every line delivered with a downturned face and at low volume, as if she's talking to herself. But that close-up after Scottie says "We were engaged once, weren't we?" feels expressly designed to rip your heart out, even though we've barely been introduced to these two people. (Credit to Stewart, too, for being willing to play callously oblivious in that moment and many others.) Someone on Twitter suggested that if Scotty = Hitch then Midge = Alma, which does resolve the seeming contradictions rather nicely. In any case, there are few movie characters toward whom I feel more impotently protective.

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