What’s the Story: Anna Fox (Amy Adams) is an agoraphobic child psychologist who finds herself keeping tabs on the picture perfect family across the street through the windows of her New York City brownstone. Her life is turned upside down when she inadvertently witnesses a brutal crime. m
There was little excitement before the release of The Woman in the Window. It’s based on the novel by A.J. Flynn (Daniel Mallory), which got positive reviews from readers. But it must’ve been a chore to get it to come out. It was originally slated for October 2019, then re-edited after test screenings, and it was scheduled again to come out a year ago from Fox 2000, now bought by Netflix, which people probably didn’t know about since there was barely any marketing around it, despite the making of a potentially solid mystery. Honestly, I expected this to be much worse, and it wasn’t. Though I can’t see this being memorable for everyone else.
A long delay like that shouldn’t have been labeled disappointing when it’s directed by Joe Wright. The thought of him adapting this novel and seeing how he’ll put his spin on a Hitchcock-type movie was something different that’s not on his scale, compared to his period pieces (Atonement, Pride and Prejudice). But as we all know, not every translation from book to movie can’t be a winner, coming from someone who never read its source material.
On the positive side, there were a few aspects about this I didn’t seem to mind. Of course, Amy Adams will usually give a strong performance the best to her advantage, and while her character of Anna Fox might not be too interesting, wondering what she saw is true and flawed as her traits. The small moments she shares with Julianne Moore was the best part since you always wanted to have a movie with these amazing actresses share a scene where it could’ve been a better movie. And just noticing it’s mostly set in the apartment, the cinematography surprised me in trying to establish the tone while feeling like you also are agoraphobic.
It was mostly everything following that never made it through to boost the overall intrigue it tried to set up, which made me question what was in the original cut before the rewrites and reshoots? The story sets itself up to be a captivating thriller that would be like Rear Window meets a better version of The Girl on the Train. The downside is that it never leads to building much suspense. You’re wondering if Anna’s crazy or what she saw really happened. I never read the novel, so I assume those who read had a better reaction. I like a good mystery once in a while, but the lack of tension made for a bland and arch that frankly bored me. And it’s a shame a writer like Tracy Letts adapted this (with Troy Gilroy brought in) since the script finds its way to be dumb.
Even with this great cast, you have to imagine themselves using their talents in anything better than this. Adams is trying; though she must find a new agent with two underwhelming films in a row (the other being Hillbilly Elegy). The rest of the other characters don’t matter as much as you wanted, from Gary Oldman, Brian Tyree Henry, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Wyatt Russell, and Anthony Mackie; the latter of whom has about one scene. Just a waste, I say when they don’t have huge roles.
As much as nothing was impressing me for part of it, was there hope the last half could pick up that much-needed thrills? Nope. Not only do they not waste time on revealing twists one after the other, but the third act will not win people back. Was it laughable? Almost. Yet, it went for stupid and messy that leaves you feeling nothing, and once it reaches its pretty abrupt. All that came to my head when the credits popped up was, “Meh.” Your reaction will also resort to a bland stare at the screen.
Who knows if a different director with an eye for mysteries would’ve made it work, but all this turned into a movie that won’t let you process everything that was thrown at us and does a poor job at barely hooking you in. There’s a more interesting movie hidden somewhere, and it shouldn’t be one to talk down when it had the slightest bit of potential.
Final Thoughts: Despite Amy Adams’ performance and commitment to its intrigue, at no point does The Woman in the Window make you feel the slightest momentum to connect with the story since it flows poorly. Not as bad as The Girl on the Train, but still makes for a mediocre thriller that’s easily forgettable. Not a recommendation from yours truly.