The 400-Word Review: Woman in the Window
By Sean Collier
May 13, 2021
A recent conversation with movie-type friends centered on a peculiar subgenre — the “well, we’re here” movie. These are the films that would not draw you out of the house; often, they would not even merit a streaming or rental click. Rather, these are the movies that you see because you happened to arrive at a movie theater ten minutes before their showtime.
Maybe you’re on vacation and spontaneously decide to pop into the cinema; maybe you’ve got a few hours to kill between things. You find a movie that, otherwise, you wouldn’t have bothered with — but, well, we’re here. Sure. Let’s watch that.
It’s a shame that “Woman in the Window,” a potboiler based on the best-selling novel of the same name, is debuting on Netflix, rather than in theaters. It would be a fitting “well, we’re here” choice — partially for its twisty nature and curious casting, but largely because it would benefit from lowered expectations. If you wandered into this film, you might be disinterested enough to enjoy it.
If you stop to think about it, however, you’ll quickly notice: It’s not very good.
The thriller follows Anna Fox (Amy Adams), an agoraphobic psychologist who struggles with a number of mental-health concerns. She passes time with classic cinema and observing her neighbors though the window — the debt to “Rear Window” is acknowledged — and, when new neighbors arrive, quickly notices strange goings-on.
Neither the character nor the narrative can stand up against more than a strong wind. Fox is too charming to be crazy and too crazy to be charming, a manic, panicked dream victim whose multitudinous quirks never add up to anything resembling a human being. The story plays by the new-thriller playbook for half its running time before switching to a conga line of twists; each of the reveals feels not like an earned plot development but rather like a Post-it Note marked “insert shocking surprise here.”
The cast — including Julianne Moore, Anthony Mackie, Jennifer Jason Leigh and others too talented for this wet pulp — lends “Woman in the Window” the imprimatur of legitimacy, but the illusion can’t hold. If you wandered into a movie theater with two hours to kill, you might mistake this for a decent use of time. There’s no reason at all to choose to watch it, though. This movie’s biggest fan will be Netflix’s auto-play function.
My Rating: 3/10
“Woman in the Window” is streaming on Netflix.