Movie Review – The Woman in the Window

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Movie Review – The Woman in the Window

Category : Movie Review

Director: Joe Wright

Starring: Amy Adams, Fred Hechinger, Julianne Moore

Wyatt Russell, Gary Oldman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Brian Tyree Henry

Year: 2021

The Woman in the Window is a combination of Rear Window and The Girl on the Trail, in title, concept, and execution, which is exactly as frantic as it sounds and as bad as it could potentially be.  They even did those two films in order; it’s Hitchcock at the beginning, very suspenseful, quite fascinating, and then amateur-poorly-writes-a-popular-thriller at the end, complete with booze, binges, affairs, and face stabbings.  Had they maybe stuck with Alfred for a bit longer the entire outcome could have been different, had they not gone to the Gillian Flynn antics so soon.  But alas, and as much as I wanted to like this film, enjoyed it for a time, and rooted for it to succeed, the end is so bad and so outlandishly ruinous that there is no forgiving what they put us through, and no reason to recommend that anyone else sit down in front of such horror.

Anna Fox is an agoraphobic, a shut-in, her life existing only within her New York City house and within her own confused mind.  Her family is out of the picture, their distant a major part of her problem, but she fuels her disorders with drugs and alcohol until it’s hard for her to tell which end it up and which leads way, way down.  When a new family moves in across the street, Anna is curious, because that’s all she’s got do, spy on neighbors, but soon after meeting the wife she witnesses something terrible; that same woman being stabbed.  Immediately calling the police, Anna becomes confused when a woman is brought in who claims to be the mother of the family, alive & well, though it’s not the same woman Anna met.  Is she imagining things, did she dream it all, or was there really a murder, and will her mind stay together in one piece long enough for her to solve the mystery?

I’ll be honest; it was hard to watch Amy Adams this way, overweight & sloppy & scared & broken.  It’s not her typical character, she’s so special & strong & awesome & attractive, and while I know she can do anything because she’s one of the best working, it was hard for me to swallow this role, even despite the reasons this woman is this way in the story.  Her acting was spot on though, and really no one dropped the ball; all involved were completely committed, and it really was a nice ensemble cast.  The Hitchcock elements were a nice homage, this take on that classic was cool, and I really was invested for a while, as the story unfolded and the clues became more complicated.  But then the wheels came off.

It started when Anna relived her past, that scene was all wrong, and it went downhill from there.  The point became to shock us, to rattle us, not to deliver quality cinema and let us enjoy it ourselves, but rather to attempt to force us to enjoy it, which is a pressure I take personally when it’s applied to my viewing.  Tracy Letts, who had a small role and who I absolutely adore, adapted the obviously-bad novel for the screen, and he simply didn’t know how, creating an overly-dramatic sequence that acted as a climax but never really had the capacity to thrill us the way the film promised we’d be thrilled.  It was gross, bizarre, out of sync, and unsettling, not violent and heroic in the way it was intended.  Plus, as the spouse of a therapist, the mental health aspects from all angles were all off, and the entire team should have known better.  The end is a cop out, a roll over, and it generally just completely sucks, which is a pity, because The Woman in the Window isn’t all bad, it’s simply murdered in the final act and we are the unhappy witnesses.

My rating: ★ ★ ⭐︎ ⭐︎ ⭐︎