The Woman in the Window is a 2021 psychological thriller film, based on the novel of the same name. The film stars Amy Adams, Gary Oldman, Fred Hechinger, Julianne Moore, Anthony Mackie and Wyatt Russell and is exclusively available to stream on Netflix.
The Woman in the Window follows an agoraphobic (fear of leaving environments which the individual knows or considers to be safe) woman who begins to spy on her new neighbours and is witness to a murder that takes place in their apartment. The premise does sound really interesting and I envisioned the film to be somewhat of a mysterious crime thriller, where the lead character tries piece together clues about the murder. Instead, The Woman in the Window takes a somewhat abstract approach which ultimately falls flat on its face.
I’ve not read the novel which the film is based on, so can’t comment on how closely the narrative compares, but the film feels so disjointed. The events of the film take place over the course of one week, with the main focus on lead character Anna Fox, an agoraphobic child psychologist. The film explores Anna’s ongoing battle with agoraphobia and substance abuse and whilst there were elements of this which are compelling, but the film gets caught between being a psychological thriller and a generic crime/mystery thriller and never really sticks with one genre for the duration.
Not only does the film struggle with its identity, the plot is at times incoherent and I often found myself puzzled with what was going on. I get that the film is trying to capture the mental state of Anna, but the film never really delves that little bit deeper into her agoraphobia which I feel would have been appreciated to help the audience learn a little more about her condition. Instead, we get a character who goes through a spectrum of extreme emotions, the majority of which we’ve seen addressed in numerous psychological thrillers previously.
The one saving grace for The Woman in the Window is the fine acting performance of Amy Adams and that of the supporting cast. Amy Adams plays lead character Dr. Anna Fox and evokes an emotional, tear-jerking performance as the tremulous agoraphobic nosy neighbour. She is unbelievably convincing as her character and it’s the way in which she brings Anna Fox to life which kept my attention throughout the duration of the film.
The performances of the supporting cast are likewise impressive, it’s just a shame we don’t see enough of them. With an all-star cast featuring the likes of Gary Oldman, Julianne Moore and Wyatt Russell, as well as the brilliant lead performance by Amy Adams, there are actually a few rare moments where the stars align and a nervy tension creeps into the film. Sadly, these moments are too few and far between and are soon overwritten by the frantic, convoluted narrative.
For a film with so much potential, I was disappointed with the outcome. There are a few moments of promise and some fine acting performances, but on the whole The Woman in the Window ends up a hectic mess. What’s more, I stuck with the film hoping that the final act would provide a bit of closure and rectify some of the trivially abstract scenes in the film, however I was left feeling even more frustrated as a result of the film’s lacklustre finale.
Despite a superb, tremulous performance from Amy Adams, The Woman in the Window’s disjointed plot and lack of direction leave it an uninspiring watch.