The Woman in the Window is a new Netflix Original mystery thriller starring Amy Adams (Arrival) and Gary Oldman (The Dark Knight), and is based on the bestselling novel by A.J. Finn. With plenty of twists and turns along the way and terrific lead performances, The Woman in the Window is bound to intrigue its audience. However, the slow pace is unforgivable at times, and overall it fails to feel cohesive and exciting.
Written by Becca Johnson
After the likes of Hillbilly Elegy (2020) and Vice (2018), Amy Adams is becoming known as an extraordinary actress who unfortunately stars in lacklustre movies, which may once again be the case. Her performance as agoraphobic Anna Fox is extremely impactful, and her struggles with anxiety are very believable. After being stuck in the house for a lengthy amount of time, Anna lives through spying on her neighbours, resulting in her witnessing something horrific in the house across the street. She is the heart of the movie as the story unravels from her perspective, and having an unreliable narrator really helps to elevate the movie. Most viewers are interested in seeing this for Adams alone, and for that reason, it's worth it. Unfortunately, Oldman excels but doesn't get enough screen-time to pack a true punch or create a memorable character; the same can be said for all other supporting roles, including Julieanne Moore and Anthony Mackie.
For a mystery thriller to be successful, it must have an interesting storyline that compels its audience to keep watching and care about the outcome; luckily, The Woman in the Window has that. The writing cleverly has multiple plot twists, one being around the centre of the movie, so there's always something to work out and unravel. Whilst piecing together whether the event that Anna witnessed occurred or if she was hallucinating, the audience can also gradually learn more about the events that lead to Anna's condition and left her housebound. With plenty of allies that seem untrustworthy and a lead character who is heavily dosed up on medication and copious amounts of wine, there are twists aplenty that many won't see coming.
One-location movies aren't a rarity, and The Woman in the Window can easily be compared to Hitchcock's iconic classic Rear Window which follows a very similar plot. What makes Rear Window excel is its gorgeous set design, which The Woman in the Window ultimately lacks. The house that Anna is living in is very drab and dark, and the audience rarely get the opportunity to gaze out of her windows and see the outside world. This results in the pacing becoming affected, some scenes becoming monotonous and bland by the end. The tension-building is strong and the character development with Anna is a success, yet the pace often gets in the way.
The Woman in the Window is a solid effort from both Netflix and director Joe Wright (Atonement), with performances and a mystery that make it a worthwhile viewing. Adams is at her best, the supporting actors do as well as they can with the time given, and the plot twists often feel like genuine surprise. However, the movie seems like it's missing something overall; by the end it feels underwhelming and lacklustre, with a final ten minutes that edge on ridiculous territory. The journey was worthwhile, yet the ending won't work for many.