The Woman in the Window Review

Dept. of Girls and Glazing


Based upon the highly successful thriller of the same name by A.J. Finn (aka Dan Mallory), at first glance The Woman in the Window seems to have all the ingredients necessary to be as successful as its source.

It’s directed by awards darling Joe Wright (Darkest Hour, Atonement). It’s got a script by Tracey Letts (August: Osage County, Killer Joe) who also pops up for a cameo in the film, and it’s got a stellar cast with Julianne Moore, Gary Oldman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Wyatt Russell, and Anthony Mackie joining Amy Adams in the lead role.

So where does it all go wrong?

Look! It’s the Woman In the Window

Adams plays Dr. Anna Fox, an agoraphobic psychotherapist who lives alone in a massive brownstone in Manhattan, the latest in a line of brittle, desperate women for Adams after Hillbilly Elegy and Sharp Objects.

Separated from her husband (Mackie) and daughter Olivia (Mariah Bozeman), she spends her days on her phone, peering at her neighbours (none of whom apparently own curtains), watching old movies, and getting absolutely blitzed on a mixture of prescription drugs and copious amounts of wine. 


After being introduced to the Russell family that’s moved in to the vacant house opposite her (Oldman and an unsettling Fred Hechinger) as well as her downstairs tenant David (played by Wyatt Russell, no relation), Anna goes full “Rear Window” after getting on odd feeling about her new neighbours. Surprise, surprise, she witnesses a murder across the way, only no one believes her claims. Then, a woman claiming the identity of the one Anna thinks she saw murdered turns up, but it’s very clearly not the same woman Anna met.

What could be have been an enjoyable Hitchcockian thriller ends up falling very much short of the mark, thanks to some leaden plotting, and a completely unreliable narrator.

You Can Trust Me

Murder mystery thrillers tend to be gratifying when the audience is right there with the protagonist, trying to solve the crime, questioning every piece of evidence, revisiting the “facts” we already “know,” and slapping our foreheads in solidarity when some of the “facts” we’ve relied upon are revealed as red herrings along with why-didn’t-I-see-that-coming realizations.

The Woman in the Window fails at all of these by drowning the viewer in an ocean of red herrings. It’s hard to know who to trust when everyone Anna comes in contact with acts like some weird asshole who is clearly hiding something. Every interaction is strained to the point where you expect violence from everyone the very moment you meet them. This might have been intended as a way to put the viewer in the shoes of a delusional, pill popping, shut-in, but with no anchors to hold on to, it soon becomes wearing.


New York may have a reputation as a bastion for the bohemian and the weird, but with creepy undertones to everyone’s behaviour towards Anna, even when that person is doing her a favour, it’s no wonder she never wants to leave the house.

As for Adams, she delivers her usual sterling performance, but with Anna’s regular intake of drugs and alcohol, it’s hard to believe anything she sees and comes across almost as untrustworthy a narrator as Dan Malory himself.

This could have been used to really build tension, but here it drains the film of any suspense and leaves the audience watching their watches in anticipation of the the inevitable reveal of what was real and what wasn’t.

This Is Where I Keep the Twist

Even if some of the reveals surprise, many others feel signposted from the start, with plenty of “conversations” taking place in only voice over, highlighting that something is “off.” While the eventual answers to whodunnit, whether-it-was-done-at-all and who-it-was-actually-done-to, may surprise some, by that point I was past caring. The reveals definitely don’t make up for the previous hour of watching Adams mope around her lovely house in her nightie and sweatpants, starting at shadows.


Moments of brilliance in the direction only highlight the drudgery of the rest of the film. A vision of a snowbound car indoors stands out, as does a sequence where Anna relives her untrustworthy memories of an event while swinging back and forth in a rocking chair. Each sway showing a different way things could have played out, but then a crash zoom to a blood spattered window feels like something straight out of The Evil Dead and completely out of step with the rest of the film. The climax also takes a weird turn into almost slasher movie levels of gore.

Having never read the book I can’t say whether or not this adaptation does it any justice, but considering the players involved, and based upon its own merits, The Woman in the Window, like The Girl On The Train and Wonder Woman 84 is a disappointment.

Women deserve better.

The Woman in the Window is now streaming on Netflix

Irish Film lover lost in Malaysia. Co-host of Malaysia's longest running podcast (movie related or otherwise ) McYapandFries and frequent cryer in movies. Ask me about "The Ice Pirates"

Previous Story

Halston Is Just More Ryan Murphy Mediocrity

Love, Death & Robots
Next Story

Love, Death & Robots, Vol. 2: We Rank All the Episodes

Latest from Movie Reviews

Luca Review

Pixar's latest fish out of water tale, Luca, arrives on Disney+ to