'The Woman in the Window' follows Dr. Anna Fox (Amy Adams), a child psychologist suffering with anxiety and agoraphobia, who lives alone in a condo in New York. She befriends a neighbour, Jane Russell (Julianne Moore), who lives across the street. Then she thinks she sees Jane murdered. But Jane's husband Alistair Russell (Gary Oldman) claims that she and Jane have never met.
One thing to know off the back of 'The Woman in the Window' is that in spite of its very Hitchcockian premise, there’s nothing akin to the auteur’s work here. There may be some inspired stylistic choices, such as interesting shots and camera tricks. But what director Joe Wright is going for here is something far pulpier and less sincere than Hitchcock's oeuvre, and if you can appreciate the movie for its unashamed hamminess, it can be quite enjoyable.
The unreliable narrator is established quickly as Anna speaks to a partner and child who we don't actually see. She also sees a therapist who asks about side effects from taking meds and stopping drinking (except that she hasn't). Amy Adams once again demonstrates her wide talent here, managing to be both very sympathetic and neurotic, leaning into the camp and trashy nature of the genre and its characters. Julianne Moore has a strong presence, even for her short screen time, while Wyatt Russell makes for an effective, handy and helpful, but slightly detached and enigmatic, neighbour downstairs. Oldman doesn't have a whole lot to do. Then you've Fred Hechinger as the traumatised, slightly creepy local teen, and Brian Tyree Henry plays a kind, patient cop.
By the finale, the movie just gets so dumb and over-the-top, but there's a self-awareness that you have to appreciate. If you wholeheartedly embrace the trashiness, including the intermittently forced dialogue, movie clichés (including the cat…), and occasionally obvious twists, 'The Woman in the Window' can be quite entertaining. You'll be intrigued to see how it all plays out. But we would recommend to expect something closer to the calibre of Emily Blunt's 'The Girl on the Train' than Fincher's 'Gone Girl'.
We've written before about the hate watch – namely those lame, low-calibre, guilty pleasures – on Netflix and this fits the bill with such efforts from the streamer as 'Secret Obsession' or 'Fatal Affair', albeit with bigger names in the cast. It's just as well the film skipped cinemas as it's not worth the price of a movie ticket. But for a mindless movie night in? Sure why not.
Available on Netflix from Friday 14th May.