Some things are better left unseen.
The Woman in the Window is a 2021 psychological thriller-mystery film directed by Joe Wright, written by Tracy Letts, produced by 20th Century Studios, Fox 2000 Pictures, and Scott Rudin Productions, and distributed by Netflix. The film is based off of A.J. Finn's 2018 novel, The Woman in the Window. It stars Amy Adams and Gary Oldman. It was not nominated for any Academy Awards.
"I can't go outside." -Anna Fox
Agoraphobic psychologist Anna Fox lives by herself, away from her husband and daughter. Bits of happiness are brought to her when she meets her neighbor, Jane Russell. While peering out the window, Anna witnesses are horrific act of violence. When the police find proof that what she saw wasn't real, Anna begins to question everything she thinks she knows.
There are a couple things that I really liked about the film. The movie really feels like a modern Hitchcock movie. The plot itself is very reminiscent of Rear Window. Some shots are pulled straight from Rear Window, Vertigo, Psycho, and more classic Hitchcock films. As a recent fan of the esteemed director, I really appreciated that the film wanted to capture the vibe of Hitchcock's thrillers.
I also think it has some very great, very intense moments. I have read the book, so I knew where the plot was going, but there were times when my heart rate accelerated. Amy Adams elevates that with a very nervous performance that can be chilling, heartbreaking, and very uncomfortable at points. The nature of the story makes the film exciting and screws with your mind, which can be very, very fun.
The film also stays very true to the book. I thought it cuts out some moments that were a good choice to cut out, and it definitely kept some of the better parts of the novel. It executes the multiple twists and turns very well. Because I knew where they were going, I was able to catch the setup and thought to myself "That was a clever little plant right there.".
I also like that the second and third act move at a pretty good pace. The first act is a pretty slow build to the inciting action, but the second and third act are relatively fast and get to the point quickly. The first part is very slow, so it's nice to get a move on in the second and third act.
Sadly, I found this movie to be pretty bland. I loved the book, though it was great, but the execution of this was just missing something. It didn't offer anything new or different to the genre. It was just a muddled adaptation of a best-selling book. The film is played very safe. They don't take any risks. They follow the book beat by beat. They don't add any new plot elements to the book. Everything is done in the most mediocre, bland way possible. And that's frustrating.
Likewise, the first thirty or forty minutes of the movie are really awkward. Sometimes that can be good, but not in this case. The dialogue is very stilted. Anna Fox meets new characters that she's supposed to like, but they are all ridiculously weird and sometimes outright insult her, but she doesn't seem to care. It feels like a car ride that hits a pothole every thirty seconds. It's really annoying.
Fred Hechinger, who plays Ethan Russell, who is an important character, was just awful inside of this film. He plays this serious character as a weirdo goofball that makes you very uncomfortable in all the wrong ways. He has this dumb-person voice that makes you, like, nauseous.
I also felt like there were a lot of pointless sequences. There are a lot of very long scenes that are filled with dialogue, but the scene doesn't actually contribute to the story. When you are squeezing a five-hundred page book into a one hour and forty minute movie, you don't want a seven minute scene that doesn't do anything for the central narrative.
There's also a lot of characters. And the only one that is truly given time to develop is Anna Fox. I am willing to bet that she doubles the screen time of everyone else. Gary Oldman, Anthony Mackie, Julianne Moore, and Brian Tyree Henry combined probably have the same amount of screen time as Amy Adams. This makes all of the characters besides Anna Fox very shallow.
I really don't have a lot to say on this movie. It's a very mediocre film that has a few good scenes as well as a few bad scenes.
The Woman in the Window has everything going for it; a great cast, an already established exciting story, and a world-class director. However, those ingredients don't stop this film from being a bland, pointless adaptation of a truly thrilling book.
I have to go Sour. Age range is 11+.
SWEET N' SOUR SCALE
Sweet (Great) Savory (Good)
Sour (Bad) Moldy (Terrible)
"The Woman in the Window"
Fun Factor: 7.5/10
Directed by Joe Wright
Rated R for moderate violence, disturbing themes and images, language, thematic elements
Released on May 14, 2021
1 hour and 40 minutes
Amy Adams as Dr. Anna Fox
Gary Oldman as Alistair Russell
Wyatt Russell as David Winter
Anthony Mackie as Ed Fox
Fred Hechinger as Ethan Russell
Brian Tyree Henry as Detective Little
Julianne Moore as Jane Russell
Jennifer Jason Leigh as Jane Russell
Mariah Bozeman as Olivia Fox