Reshoots, rewrites and delays are not always a sign of bad things to come. All movies go through these. However, in the case of the new Netflix movie, The Woman in the Window, they were a precursor of the film’s failure.
Released after a long and arduous process, The Woman in the Window wants to harken back to days of “Rear Window” but comes up short at the end.
Amy Adams plays child psychologist Dr. Anna Fox, suffering from agoraphobia and living alone in her house in New York. She is separated from her husband (Anthony Mackie) and her daughter (Mariah Bozeman) and is under doctor’s care and psychological evaluation. She takes prescription drugs to help her problems and drinks way too much.
Being stranded in her house, the only thing that she can do is to watch the neighboring buildings, keeping track of the other people’s lives. When the new family moves in across the street, she meets the 16-year-old Ethan (Fred Hechinger), a kid who has several family problems. They become friendly and Anna hopes to be able to help the boy.
Ethan seems to be afraid of his father Alistair (Gary Oldman). When Ethan’s mother Jane (Julianne Moore) stopped by for a visit, she bonded with Anna over children. Later that week, Anna witnesses the Jane she met being murdered across the street in the Russell home.
The police seemed to be uncertain about the reliability of Anna, especially when Alistair showed up with his not-so-dead wife Jane (Jennifer Jason Leigh), who was a different woman than the one Anna had spent time with that night.
From this point on, the film is really messy and is not sure what it wants to be. The central mystery is confusing, and, in the end, turns out to be a disappointing reveal. It was interesting that the film played off on Anna being an unreliable narrator, with what she sees and does being called into question.
This is a strong cast, but the material just does not reach the level that it should have. Based on a novel by A.J. Finn, there are problems with the film. Parts of the movie were not terrible, but just lacking. The third act became laughable at times, including a moment rolling down the stairs that looked nearly like a pratfall from a comedy movie. And one of the character must develop teleportation because it doesn’t make sense otherwise.
This does feel like one of those movies that could be improved by having the Rifftrax guys riffing it. Not sure if this is meant to be serious or if it is meant to be schlock, or both at times.