The Woman in the Window is a recently released Netflix film starring Amy Adams, Gary Oldman, and Julianne Moore, among a few other big names. The film follows Anna (Adams), an agoraphobic woman who begins suspecting that something is wrong with her neighbors across the street. What ensues is an attempted thrilling tale of crime, murder, and family that never quite hits its mark.
The Woman in the Window is bogged down by endless twists and turns, along with red herrings that never lead anywhere. The film never really knows what it wants to be—is it the story of a grieving woman, riddled with guilt at the loss of her family? Or is it the story of a mentally unstable woman, convinced that she is seeing something that no one else can? Or is it the story of a woman who longs to help people, specifically younger people, but can never figure out how? The film is lost because director Joe Wright doesn’t know what story it is—perhaps it’s not meant to be any of these, and he was going for something entirely different that went over the audience’s heads.
There are plenty of moments in The Woman in the Window where the story feels as though it is coming to a (typically forced) conclusion. These moments are jarring, filled with twists and turns that don’t make sense to the overall story and that are merely thrown in for shock value and to keep the audience invested in something. But these twists never pay off, and they feel entirely forced. Twists are dropped into the story and then never mentioned again, such as a big reveal in the second half of the film. It never works, and never has the effect that it is meant to have on the audience, who are sitting desperately waiting for something to catch their attention.
The Woman in the Window is frustrating because it feels like the story is going nowhere. Over and over again people assume that Anna is the one at fault, and it’s blatantly obvious to the audience that this is not the case. The majority of the film is spent with Anna being rejected for suspecting that her neighbor has murdered someone, and the detectives working on the case are frustratingly obtuse. Clues that would otherwise be considered as strong evidence are tossed aside, and there are many points in the story where things should be happening but simply aren’t.
It is obvious who the killer in The Woman in the Window is from the get-go. There is a poor introduction of the villain that makes it obvious that they are up to something—and the story throughout just confirms this further for the audience. The big reveal at the end doesn’t have any real impact, and the gotcha moment that is supposed to happen never pans out. It’s a disappointing ending to a disappointing movie, one that is easily forgotten the next day.
The talent in this film is entirely wasted on the poor writing and directing. Adams and Moore specifically have proven themselves to be powerhouse performers before, but they are given no room to shine here, and no character that allows them to stand out. It’s a blow to both of their careers, and one that I imagine they will try to erase from people’s memories. The big names presented in The Woman in the Windowdon’t save it from what it ultimately is—a cheap cash grab with wasted talent, cringe-worthy writing, and no real voice to drive the narrative forward.
For those still interested in seeing the film, it is currently streaming on Netflix.