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The Woman in the Window – Movie Review

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The Woman in the Window – Movie Review

Rating: D+ (Bad)

Trailer/Thumbnail Courtesy Netflix

A lot of the time, a film can have the ingredients of something worthwhile, but the execution results in an underwhelming experience. It’s easy to admire the technical prowess of The Woman in the Window and Joe Wright tries his best to capture the needed tone with his direction. However, the script ends up really muddled and the actors are given little to work with as they largely shout their lines. Even Amy Adams delivers a disappointing performance as Anna Fox, although she’s not helped by the awkward dialogue she’s required to say. The Woman in the Window ends up being a dull sit as it takes us through every forced plot point.

The film feels troubling from the beginning, as the actors have to give exposition rather than letting us discover the characters and their situation naturally. Even though Adams gives it a game try as she plays a woman who doesn’t like going outside, nothing feels natural about the things she says and her performance suffers for it. Most of the movie consists of actors walking in and out, as they have conversations that slowly advance the plot. Sometimes, these meetings don’t even do that. Despite the talents of actors like Gary Oldman, Wyatt Russell and Julianne Moore, this is definitely not among their finest work. Oldman is especially over-the-top, even by his usual standards.

The dialogue is maybe among the biggest culprits as too many lines intended as serious come across as unintentionally goofy instead. When the big mystery is revealed, a character delivers a long monologue and it’s hard not to think of Syndrome’s line from The Incredibles, “you sly dog, you got me monologuing.” The Woman in the Window also makes the risky move of referencing other films. Anna is frequently shown watching classic films, including Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window, and these end up as distractions rather than a way to enhance the character. One ends up playing a game of “Guess the Movie Clip.”

Wright does make good use of the location, as he makes sure to use every corner of Anna’s house. Bruno Delbonnel’s cinematography deserves credit for some beautifully mounted shots and he finds new places to put the camera in each scene, despite the enclosed location. Danny Elfman also composes a fitting score that provokes more excitement than the film we’re watching. Those moments when Wright lets the cinematography and score tell the story makes one see the film’s promise had it not been let down by the writing.

It’s a shame that The Woman in the Window becomes a disappointing psychological thriller. The glacial placing makes it difficult to get invested and neither do the thinly written characters. Amy Adams is one of the best actors working today and that even she can’t elevate the film shows that it probably required an entire rewrite to work. These problems could have also originated in A.J. Finn’s book, but it’s difficult to know that without delving into the source material. The Woman in the Window is neither as tense nor as clever as it could be and that affects almost everything from the acting to the plot twists.

Stefan Ellison

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