The Woman in the Window: A bland Rear Window wannabe

Director Joe Wright’s newest film, an adaptation of pseudonymous author A.J. Finn’s 2018 novel The Woman in the Window, is an utter mess.

The film instantly gives off Rear Window vibes within the basis of its premise where an agoraphobic psychologist named Anna (Amy Adams) becomes suspicious of her neighbors after seeing a woman be murdered in their apartment. Without it being based on Finn’s novel, it would be incredibly easy to see this film as some sort of remake or reimagining of Rear Window given their base similarities. However, this is NOT Rear Window, not even close.

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The film follows an agoraphobic woman who attempts to solve a murder she witnesses through her window. PHOTO: The New Yorker

The whole mystery of why Anna is agoraphobic and what she exactly saw loses its steam early on with how obvious certain details are and how easy the puzzle pieces fit together. From the initial “Jane Russell” (Julianne Moore) that befriends Anna having this very blunt line that instantly makes you not trust her completely to Anna having a nightly ritual of wine and her prescription medication, it’s easy to piece together where things are exactly going with Anna’s suspicions towards the Russell family. Thus, the film taking its time in getting to these answers can be painful especially with how it never feels like you’re making progress in this mystery. It’s honestly even hard to want to make progress in this mystery though as the characters, writing, and performances are so bland.

For having a ton of talented names in the cast alongside Adams, all the performances are way too over the top and corny. Every performance is exactly the same with everyone trying to add this suspicious, secretive charm to their characters that attempt to make them seem more interesting than they actually are. There’s a bland snarky tone that everyone has that tries to make them seem cooler and more intriguing than the person they’re talking to and it’s like they’re trying to make themselves the culprit. None of these characters are given the time or depth to be anything more than these caricatures and the lines they’re given harnesses a major pet peeve of mine when it comes to bland thrillers. There are strings of dialogue that are just questions to constantly keep your interest and make things seem more mysterious, but it’s just overly obnoxious and super annoying.

There’s not even anything to really care about when it comes to this mystery since there aren’t really any likeable characters to relate to because of their frustrating and confusing behavior. Anna’s agoraphobia isn’t utilized or delved into enough to create this compelling connection to Anna’s issues, and you start to feel a little repulsed by her self-destructive behavior. This self-destruction never seems like it’s really coming from an inner issue that Anna is plagued with, but rather her inability to not want to drink wine with her medication. The rest of the characters basically come off mean-spirited or fake so there’s never really anyone to care about or remotely trust early on.

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The film gives off the same vibes as Rear Window, but has nowhere near the same depths or thrills. PHOTO: IndieWire

The final act is probably the most ridiculous element of The Woman in the Window since it feels entirely tacked on and is incredibly unremarkable. It basically throws away the still bland, but much more believable idea of Anna’s psychosis and bad habits making things out to be something entirely different for a serial killer plot that’s barely even built within the film. The killer’s identity almost feels like it was picked out of a hat with how random this idea is thrown into the last moments of the film and it’s wrapped up so quickly that it barely leaves an impact. It even stifles the lesson that Anna learns about herself when a big realization for her comes in and it just feels like she got an excuse for people not wanting to believe her.

The Woman in the Window is a big blunder for everyone involved and a mystery not worth getting yourself involved with. It’s cruddy script and careless characterizations make for nothing more than a bland Rear Window wannabe.

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