The Woman in the Window has had a pretty rough journey to its debut. Originally set to debut in 2019, the film was delayed for the following year after it left test audiences confused. Once Disney purchased FOX, they worked on rewrites and reshoots to help better shape the story. It was then delayed a second time due to the pandemic last year to finally premiere yesterday on Netflix to a wide audience.
“We’re dealing with a complex novel,” Fox 2000 president, Elizabeth Gabler told The Hollywood Reporter back in 2019. “We tested the movie really early for that very reason. We wanted to make it better, and we’ve had Disney’s full support in doing that.” It’s just too bad that the many reshoots and delays were not enough to save this film.
Based on A.J. Finn’s novel of the same title, The Woman in the Window, directed by Joe Wright (Atonement, Pride&Prejudice) has many similarities to the classic Hitchcock film, Rear Window. The film stars Oscar nominated Amy Adams who plays Anna Fox, an agoraphobic woman who spies on her neighbors while living alone in New York. One night, she witnesses a horrific attack from the neighbors’ home, leading her down a road of deception, paranoia, and repressed memories. The film also generates a pretty strong cast including Gary Oldman, Julianne Moore, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Brian Tyree Henry, Fred Hechinger, and Wyatt Russell. It’s just unfortunate that this A-list cast couldn’t save it from being this oddly paced and borderline schlocky film.
There were many times during my viewing where I was mind boggled by the plot holes and whether I was supposed to feel frightened or not. The pacing was off as there were many moments where the tone was swinging back from being comedic to a some sort of David Fincher-esque suspense film. The mysterious twists and reveals fell a bit flat and unmoving. But despite all its flaws, I really enjoyed Amy Adams’ performance as she has wowed us many times before in past projects, like HBO’s Sharp Objects. Anna’s struggle with alcoholism and dealing with her agoraphobia makes for the perfect protagonist as we the audience want to see her better herself and prove that she’s telling the truth.
What I also appreciate about Adams’ performance is how much I, and I’m sure many of you, can relate to being isolated in your home for more than 10 months. The yearning for companionship and being connected with the outside world is all too relatable as the COVID-19 pandemic put the world on pause last year.
The Woman in the Window wasn’t the best suspense, thriller, mystery film I’ve watched. Its cinematography and imagery was quite beautiful and well done. The dark snowy atmosphere is brought on when Anna recounts the traumatic accident that initially provoked her illness (the reveal wasn’t so much of a reveal as it was pretty obvious). While this film was a bit messy, I do believe it can put you a bit on edge while viewing alone at night. All while having a clear view of your neighbor’s dining room from your open window, wondering if you live next to any potential psychopaths.