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Film Review: “The Woman in the Window” (2021)


Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

There are many reasons why we watch movies. Some prefer a good story while others the big names attached to it. In some cases, it’s a good approach. Because we know, for instance, someone like Amy Adams won’t disappoint. No matter how bad the movie is, Adams embodies the character she portrays giving everything required to have meaningful and prosperous life within and outside of the silver screen.

Anna Fox (always brilliant Amy Adams) is a child psychologist who suffers from agoraphobia. Separated from her husband (Anthony Mackie) and beloved daughter Olivia, she now is confined in her own apartment. Unable to go out, she is left alone with the perfect view of her neighborhood, allowing her to see the life of her neighbors. As she watches the newly moved-in family, The Russells, Anna is becoming increasingly concerned as she witnesses abuse, and shortly after, the brutal murder of Jane Russell.

Adapted from A. J. Finn’s novel with the same title, it reminds of Hitchcock’s “Rear Window”. However, this film should not be treated as a modern version of it. The main reason is that no one owns the concept of having a lead character stuck in their house with the perfect view of seeing the life of his or her neighbors; watching them or witnessing, for instance, crimes that occur. Unfortunately, one of the main challenges of Joe Wright’s movie is the audience that may barely accept for the same reason – thinking it’s a remake of Hitchcock’s masterpiece when in reality it is not.

I am not here to defend the film or cover up some flaws the storyline has. But the strongest aspect of it is the absolutely spectacular performance from its lead, Amy Adams. I can go on and on praising her subtle way of capturing her character; a very nuanced performance and approach towards the character. Let’s admit it, having the trio of Adams-Oldman-Moore in one movie, especially when they share the screen together is like the most delicious cake you will never stop consuming – because it’s that good. But let’s leave the actors alone and see what else “The Woman in the Window” has to offer other than what has already been mentioned above.

So far, we see that Anna is afraid to leave the house for obvious reasons. On the phone, she never misses a chance to chat with her husband or daughter. She has some psychological issues, which will be questioned many times throughout the movie. But that is something you will be asking yourself too, whether if what Fox says make sense at all or not. We know that something is strange. We have met Jane Russell (Julianne Moore). We saw them sharing a drink and talking nicely to each other. But who is the other woman who claims to be Jane Russell (Jennifer Jason Leigh) too? All these questions will be pressing enough for you to eagerly wait for answers. But that’s what this film does – it takes you right to the point when it feels is the right time, as long as you hang on to it long enough to feed your curiosity.

That said, leaving Hitchcock’s “Rear Window” aside and not treating Wright’s film as a retouched version, then it’s quite a decent psychological thriller with a complex concept that would be challenging for any filmmaker to adapt onto the small or big screen. As for editing, it does an amazing job by bringing the right scenes together, which won’t cause any confusion. It’s a smart and well-crafted thriller that’s worth your attention. Of course, after reading all other negative reviews for it, think about one thing – with billions of different opinions, do we really have to follow someone when we are capable to form our own view on this or any other movie?

Indeed, Wright brings to light a well-accepted novel, for a movie that won’t be accepted widely. However, that does not mean it’ bad, just because it looks like an old version of a beloved piece. Or because someone says it is. Just give it a shot. See it yourself. If you still did not like it, at least you know it was you who came to this decision, not because someone led you to it.

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