Netflix review: Amy Adams is totally convincing in thriller 'The Woman in the Window'

Fred Hawson

Posted at May 16 2021 11:05 AM

Amy Adams in 'The Woman in the Window'

Dr. Anna Fox (Amy Adams) was a child psychologist who lived alone in her Boston apartment with her cat Punch. She suffered from a severe case of agoraphobia and could not go out of her house. She was separated from her husband Ed (Anthony Mackie) who has custody of their daughter Olivia (Mariah Bozeman). She has a tenant, singer-songwriter David (Wyatt Russell), who was renting a room in her basement. 

One day, she met Ethan (Fred Hechinger), the mousy teenage son of her new neighbors across the street, the Russells. This was soon followed by a long friendly visit from the wife Jane (Julianne Moore). However that night, Anna saw Jane being stabbed to death by her husband Alistair (Gary Oldman). When Detective Little (Bryan Tyree Henry) came to investigate, it seemed as if she imagined the whole situation up. 

Amy Adams was convincing as the totally unhinged as Anna Fox, as she put on a veritable one-woman show within the claustrophobic confines of her apartment so skillfully that we felt as if we were trapped along with her in her extreme psychological prison. She gave us everything, the whole gamut of the neurotic syndrome, kit and caboodle -- nervous tics, anxious thoughts, panicky behavior, hearing voices, seeing things, easily startled, easily provoked, very emotionally labile. 

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The character of Alistair Russell was the most over-the-top, highly-strung version of Gary Oldman I had ever seen in a movie. Julianne Moore played the first Jane in an overly easy-going manner, in contrast with Jennifer Jason Leigh who played the other Jane in a suspiciously stoic manner. Wyatt Russell, who recently made a big splash as John Walker/new Captain America in "Falcon & the Winter Soldier," gave the character of David the requisite discomfiting vibe. 

This was a psychological thriller had a screenplay adapted by Terry Letts based on a novel by controversial author A.J. Finn. It had common elements with the Hitchcock classic "Rear Window," with a protagonist confined indoors, who used a camera to spy on the new neighbors from her front window this time. 

For maximal tension, Anna had to be the most unreliable witness, being a psychologically-disturbed, heavily-medicated woman. Director Joe Wright delivered well on the suspenseful build-up to an unpredictable, albeit over-the-top, climax.

This review was originally published in the author's blog, "Fred Said."