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The Woman in the Window review: Should you stream the Netflix thriller?

Amy Adams from The Woman in the Window.
Amy Adams from The Woman in the Window. Pic credit: Melinda Sue Gordon/Netflix

Every now and then, while passing through a grocery check-out line or waiting in an airport, one will see novels for sale that seem like solid mindless escapism. The Girl on the Train and the book this movie was based on, The Woman in the Window, fit this category as simple mystery thrillers for adults.

The adaptation of The Woman in the Window has gone through several delays in release – even before COVID-19. And now, this weekend, Netflix has finally dropped the film on the streaming platform.

Was the long wait for the adaptation of The Woman in the Window worth it? Is it a decent mystery thriller like the novel is said to be? Here is our full review.

The Woman in the Window review

The film stars Amy Adams as Anna Fox – a reclusive woman who hides in her home due to suffering from agoraphobia. She has a tenant that lives below her named David (Wyatt Russell) who helps her maintain the property, so she can stay inside and she is frequently visited by a therapist (Tracy Letts). There is also a sideplot involving a marital situation involving Anna and her husband Ed (Anthony Mackie).

Anna in her seclusion becomes aware she has new neighbors. After being visited by the mother of the family, Jane Russell (Julianne Moore), she sees from her window someone killing her. And as the trailer indicates, once Anna reports the murder, the police and the Russell family tell her that Jane Russell is alive – and an entirely different person (Jennifer Jason Leigh) introduces herself as Jane Russell.

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Anna then tries to do everything she can to solve the murder and prove she is not crazy from the confines of her home.

This movie is a work of wonder--and this is not intended as a compliment.

Gary Oldman and Brian Tyree Henry in The Woman in the Window.
Gary Oldman and Brian Tyree Henry in The Woman in the Window. Pic credit: Melinda Sue Gordon/Netflix

The Woman in the Window has so much talent behind it. The film has an all-star cast with many Oscar contenders behind it. The movie is written by Tracy Letts, the screenwriter behind Killer Joe and August Osage County. it’s directed by Joe Wright, the filmmaker who gave us Atonement, Darkest Hour, and Hanna.

What could possibly go wrong?… The answer is a lot.

Now, to be clear, this writer has not read the book, but the film itself is hilariously predictable. For one reason, the story has two or three twists that have been used many times before. Retreads are fine if they can be executed in interesting ways. Shutter Island is a solid example of rehashing familiar plot twists with fresh emotional approaches.

The Woman in the Window is not interested in doing such things. It’s just a potluck of old servings we have eaten many times before from far better chefs.

Wyatt Russell as David from The Woman in the Window.
Wyatt Russell as David from The Woman in the Window. Pic credit: Melinda Sue Gordon/Netflix

Director Joe Wright seems off his game in this movie as well. Besides Gary Oldman, a lot of the performances are awkwardly done, and it does not feel like anyone’s fault as an actor. Everyone here is trying their best, but the movie is clumsily handled while using their talents.

The dialogue feels off-rhythm in several sequences and sometimes the camera lingers too long after one person responds. This could also have been fixed with a better cut. As many will say, a good editor can save a bad performance, and a bad editor can wreck a good one.

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One scene, in particular, had this writer dying with laughter – and the scene was not meant to be funny. Plus, t’s not a spoiler to talk about this scene so let’s discuss.

There is a moment in this movie where two people are sitting at a table drinking wine. One character picks up a writing pad and begins drawing. Eight seconds later (literally), she drops the pad and it’s a detailed cartoon of the other person. It’s the kind of scene that viewers would only expect from a Naked Gun movie. It’s truly hilarious.

Then there is the ending. The whole film is so predictable beside the final reveal. Throughout the film, many streamers will be expecting one thing to happen. When that answer comes, audiences will be more frustrated that it was not the predictable choice. Mainly because the truth is unintentionally funny. The result removes any suspense the movie had left.

Should you stream The Woman in the Window?

The Woman in the Window is a complete mess of a mystery thriller. It has an incredible cast and talented team that is completely wasted.

The movie will entertain viewers but for all the wrong reasons. It has numerous reveals and tropes that have been handled better in other movies and many moments will have viewers laughing – but not with the movie.

That said, if viewers need a show to put on as a background flick while doing other things, The Woman in the Window is a solid flick to fill the empty space.

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Be sure and check out our other Netflix reviews for Jupiter’s Legacy and Oxygen.

The Woman in the Window is now streaming on Netflix.

John Dotson is a film and television reviewer and commentator more

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