Despite director Joe Wright’s aesthetically-pleasing visual storytelling, cinematographer Bruno Delbonnel’s thoughtful coordination of symbolic framing and lighting, and a stellar cast attempting to elevate a clichéd premise through their devoted acting – The Woman in the Window still feels like an unoriginal, incoherent exploitation of the exhausted unreliable-female-narrator trope.

Adapted from A.J. Finn’s popular thriller novel of the same title, this film traps its agoraphobic, voyeuristic protagonist Anna Fox (Amy Adams) within the depths of her ominous brownstone. Anna spies on the family across the street, and in turn witnesses an appalling incident in their house. The film’s narrative is structured by several acts along the revelation plot for Anna to figure out what she sees, where unfortunately every “twist” or “turn” lacks punch. The result is more of a formulaic rip-off of Rear Window than – what this film intends to be – a subversive contemporary tribute to Hitchcock‘s classics.

These “tributes” are mostly unimaginative reenactments of overused Hitchcockian setups and scenes. Moreover, they become cringe-worthy at times in Anna’s characterisation, where Adams’ inwardly layered performances are mismatched with Hitchcock’s female character archetype of the expressively wide-eyed scream queens. While Adams’ central performance barely holds together this soapy psychological thriller, even the most versatile actors among its elite ensemble fall short of deepening their one-dimensional characters.

Definitely a disappointment, The Woman in the Window could be merely watchable if you go into it with popcorn, cheap wine and low expectations. During the current in-between state of the pandemic, this film could also be a campy Covid viewing. While it makes it hard for us to care about its story and characters, we can at least relate to its protagonist’s anxieties and the paradoxes between entrapment and freedom.



CAST: Amy Adams, Gary Oldman, Julianne Moore, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Brian Tyree Henry, Anthony Mackie, Wyatt Russell, Fred Hechinger

DIRECTOR: Joe Wright

WRITERS: Tracy Letts (screenplay by), A.J. Finn (based upon the novel by)

SYNOPSIS: An agoraphobic woman spies on her neighbors from her house, only to witness a violent incident that makes her question her own reality.