As someone who has read A.J Finn’s 2018 novel The Woman in The Window, I’ve been anxiously waiting to see this film for so long, particularly since it’s 2020 release date was delayed due to the pandemic. Director Joe Wright’s (Atonement, Pride and Prejudice) adaptation of Finn’s award-winning novel stars Amy Adams as Dr. Anna Fox, a woman who suffers from Agoraphobia (meaning she can’t leave her house).
Anna spends most of her days watching her neighbours from the comfort of her Manhattan apartment. Until one day she sees something she shouldn’t through the window of an apartment across the road – whose inhabitants are the new Russell family. Dr. Fox slowly gets entangled in the family’s affairs, and soon begins to question her own reality and sanity.
Unsurprisingly, Amy Adams is able to pull off another excellent performance. She’s completely believable as an extremely anxious but very intelligent woman who’s just trying to do her best to get through each day. I also thought that Gary Oldman who plays Alistair (the patriarch of the Russell family) and Wyatt Russell who portrays David (Anna’s disgruntled tenant) both pulled off strong performances.
Initially, I found the film struggled with its pacing, particularly in the lead up to Anna witnessing the ‘event’ in her neighbor’s apartment. After this I did find that it picked up a little, and the mystery and intrigue that I loved about the book seemed to feature more prominently which was good. There were also quite a few odd editing choices during this first act that I didn’t particularly care for or found necessary, but that may just be me.
However, I thought the sequence where the audience finds out about Anna’s family was beautifully done. It was heartbreaking and somber and probably my favourite part of the film, just because of how well it was depicted.
I felt a bit ‘meh’ about the ending, but I felt that way when I read the book too so there’s no surprise there. I also found the ending left a few things unexplained or unclarified, which kind of made the ‘twist’ make not a lot of sense. But again, I could be just nitpicking.
As always, there were a few aspects and plot points in the book that were omitted from the movie, although I think the film did a good job at choosing which parts were unnecessary/did not add anything to drive the plot forward.
All in all, I think The Woman in the Window had some hits as well as some misses. It’s well acted and if you haven’t read the novel, it does give you a nice dose of mystery and thrills. It’s a fun popcorn movie to put on when you’re sitting around on a Friday night with your friends or family, but other than that it’s really nothing too spectacular which was a little disappointing. It certainly had the potential, but it couldn’t quite get there.
The Woman in the Window is now streaming on Netflix.
Catalyst has been the student publication of RMIT University since 1944. We may be older than your parents but we’re still going strong!