OTT Review: The Woman In The Window

Sushmita Bose /Dubai
sushmita@khaleejtimes.com Filed on June 3, 2021

The Woman In The Window — rather keenly awaited, although it had been dragged through a welter of huge delays — has been roasted in the critics’ oven. Surprising, you’d say, if you check out the promises the film held out.

It’s directed by Joe Wright, who is hands down a very fine filmmaker, having to his credit the marvellous and Oscar-winning Atonement and Darkest Hour.

It’s based on AJ Finn’s bestselling novel (of the same name) and has been adapted for screen by Pulitzer-and Tony-winning playwright Tracy Letts. The movie also has a great cast: Amy Adams, Gary Oldman, Julianne Moore.

The best — and most compelling — bit: the immediate association with Hitchcock’s Rear Window.

What could have gone so awry?

But here’s what. It’s not half as bad as most critics would have us believe. In fact, I thought that other than little fidgets here and there, it’s actually a good watch till it reaches the end of the line. Once there, it trips and falls. But not before it strikes up quite an impression.

Amy Adams plays Anna, an over-medicated (former) child psychologist who lives in a big house in New York, with a cat, and a tenant (with dubious credentials) in the basement. She suffers from agoraphobia, doesn’t step of the darkened house, has conversations with dead people. Clearly unhinged and unstable. What she sees, therefore, are invariably put down as delusions and hallucinations.

When a family of three (husband, wife, son) moves in across the road, she tries to keep a watch on them — from the vantage point of her window (that squarely faces their house).

In the meantime, she believes she’s struck up an acquaintanceship with the wife, who visits her and reveals stuff about her husband and son. Anna also befriends the son, who she’s convinced is being abused by his father.

One night, she witnesses the murder of the wife — presumably by the husband — and she goes into a funk, calling the police and trying to build a case. Given her trajectory, the claims are dismissed as being “deluded”. But was there really a murder? Or, was she imagining it?

The worst bits? The ending is kind of blah. Gary Oldman, who played Winston Churchill and was awarded an Oscar for Best Actor in Wright’s Darkest Hour, is reduced to a semi-caricature. I have no idea why he agreed to take up this role in the first place; you feel sorry for both him and his British accent (which seemed totally out of place).

The best bits? Amy Adams, in a totally non-glam role, turns in a bravura performance. Many critics have griped about the bad camerawork; I found it quite deft in the limited scope of the claustrophobic setting. And stirring music, I thought (I had to mute it for some parts to get over the fright factor).

The Woman In The Window works as a psychological drama-cum-gripping whodunit for about 75 per cent of the duration. That and Amy Adams definitely make it worth a watch.

sushmita@khaleejtimes.com

author

Sushmita Bose

Sushmita, who came to Dubai in September 2008 on a whim and swore to leave in a year's time (but then obviously didn't), edits wknd., the KT lifestyle mag, and writes the Freewheeling column on the Oped page every Friday. Before joining Khaleej Times, she'd worked for papers like Hindustan Times and Business Standard in New Delhi, and a now-defunct news magazine called Sunday in Calcutta. She likes meeting people, making friends, and Facebooking. And even though she can be spotted hanging out in Dubai's 'new town', she harbours a secret crush on the old quarters, and loves being 'ghetto-ised' in Bur Dubai where she is currently domiciled.