REVIEW ‘The Woman in the Window’ has too many story woes

This is a film with some good ideas and a strong cast, but unfortunately, it all came together in total mess.

Amy Adams stars in the film as Anna Fox, a child counselor who lives with agoraphobia, something she’s dealt with since a traumatic event took place. She lives most days secluded in her apartment but one day notices a new family moving into the flat across the road. Eventually, she meets the matriarch of the family, Jane (Julianne Moore), and the two have an afternoon with a bit of bonding.

A short time later, Anna sees Jane appearing to be murdered. She calls the police but the detectives and the husband from the new family, Alistair (Gary Oldman) approach Anna telling her she’s wrong. They then bring out another woman who say’s she’s Jane (Jennifer Leigh). With that new information, Anna begins searching through details to determine if she saw what she saw.

Director Joe Wright has made some good films in his career and the cast has plenty of Oscar-caliber talent. However, “The Woman in the Window” is taken down by a sloppy story and suffers from being too over-stylized.

There are so many shots and visual moments that are exaggerated, whether its with excessive colorization or a strange angle, that it seems like it’s trying too hard to be mind-bending. At the same time, it feels like all this stylization is making up for a lack of substance.

Strong cinematography and other visual elements are of course important, but storytelling and plotting are, too. And unlike “Vertigo” or “Rear Window,” this film doesn’t succeed at balancing both.

Woman in the Window (2021), Amy Adams as Anna Fox

In other films, like those mentioned above from Alfred Hitchcock, or others in the genre, there’s a story with an urgency to solve the crime and a sense of foreboding. That is mostly missing in “The Woman in the Window.”

The story unravels in a rather unsatisfying way and it’s honestly a bit of a chore to sit through at times as Anna sort of meanders from clue to clue. There is a bit of suspense as the lead protagonist doesn’t feel fully safe, but that’s about all the engagement that the audience can really latch on to.

It doesn’t help that the climax has a let down in its big twist. The big reveal should be boisterous but what’s given is a dud.

It’s a shame, too, because of the cast this movie had to work with. Oldman and Moore are both Academy Award winners, while Adams and Leigh are Oscar nominees. There’s some great talent here, yet they all feel wasted.

Moore is barely featured, Oldman is too over-dramatic and Adams isn’t given much range with her character.

There was a good concept here and the actors obviously have a proven track record. Unfortunately, the execution was way off in this thriller and it’s entirely skippable. 1.5 out of 5.


Author: Matthew Liedke

Journalist and film critic in Minnesota. Graduate of Rainy River College and Minnesota State University in Moorhead. Outside of movies I also enjoy sports, craft beers and the occasional video game.

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