Let’s be honest, it’s always fun to spy on one’s neighbours. Why then does it get so boring in The Woman in the Window?
The Woman in the Window Synopsis
Unable to leave her home for even a moment because of agoraphobia, child psychologist Anna Fox spends her days drinking too much wine, talking on the phone with her ex-husband, and spying on her neighbours. After a new family named the Russells shifts in across the street, Anna is paid a visit by teenager Ethan Russell, followed by his gregarious mother, Jane. Sadly, what Anna sees as meaningful new friendships soon becomes horror when she unexpectedly witnesses to Jane’s murder.
I’ll begin by answer the question you probably have in mind. Is The Woman in the Window a remake of Hitchcock’s Rear Window?
The answer: no it’s not, it’s based on A.J. Finn’s bestselling first novel. But there are so many similarities, no one can be faulted for wondering, or comparing.
And yes, I agree with the feedback of many viewers too. If you like this sort of psychological story, you should watch Hitchcock’s masterpiece instead.
Repeat: watch the Hitchcock movie.
What went wrong? Well, I think it begins with how this adaptation follows the novel too closely. While that normally would be a good thing, in this case, I felt it did quite the opposite. There are just too few suspenseful key events to fill the already short run of 100 minutes. The whole show is full of large gaps between the preciously few good stuff.
The acting is also disappointing, although I wouldn’t go to the extent of saying it was horrid. Amy Adams, usually so reliable in depictions of strong women, alternates between indulgent and intrepid, and insensible. Other big names like Gary Oldman and Julianne Moore enjoy too little screen time and when they do appear, it’s a clear case of enjoying the role “too much.” I.E. overacting.
And then there’s the ending, which kinda wraps everything up but not without a large basket of elaborate conveniences. On this, as far as I know, the ending follows that in the novel closely, and so I can only again conclude it’s the weakness of the source material.
In summary, I repeat the word used by Variety in their review. “Overwrought.” The story is overwrought in the effort to explain the mystery, but without the acting or pacing to compensate.
I also feel Hitchcock indirectly did this movie a disfavour. The legendary director made a film so memorable, half a century down the road, many updated versions still pale in comparison. But that is, of course, not a task that cannot be overcome.
Read my other snappy movie reviews.