Amy Adams, Gary Oldman, and Julianne Moore lead an all-star cast in a complete disaster of a film, The Woman in the Window. Joe Wright directs the movie, which is billed as a psychological thriller. His other credits include Pride & Prejudice (2005) and Anna Karenina (2012), The Woman in the Window is about as thrilling as watching paint dry, directing a thriller is presently outside of Joe’s wheelhouse. As the opening credits roll, you have an eerie feeling that you have seen this storyline before. The classic Rear Window starring Jimmy Stewart and Grace Kelly comes to mind. Hitchcock, aka “Master of Suspense” had a career spanning fifty years Hitchcock, known for having a signature style of storytelling, characterized by unique camera angles and movements that engaged the emotions of the audience, adding fear and suspense which is sorely lacking in The Woman in the Window.
Anna Fox (Adams) a child psychologist separated from her husband and daughter, lives in a large brownstone in Manhattan, and for occasional company and to run errands for her, rents out her basement apartment to a fledgling musician David. Anna’s world revolves around her daughter Olivia and husband Ed they speak often by phone. It does not give the audience any clues or insight into the reasons for the separation. Anna is an agoraphobic who watches the world and neighbors from her window. See’s a shrink regularly about issues relating to her nightmares, mood swings, medications, and affinity for mixing alcohol with said medications. What caused Anna to become a shut-in, and what caused her apparent breakdown? They left the answers to these and other questions to the imagination of the audience for half the movie.
The previously unoccupied brownstone across the street from Anna has been sold and a new family the Russell’s move in, mom, dad, and teenage son and as we quickly learn from Anna’s snooping something is really off about them. Almost immediately after they move in, the son Ethan shows up on Ann’s doorstep revealing that his dad is abusive, with a quick temper. Following Ethan’s visit, Anna receives another guest, none other than Jane (Julianne Moore) aka Mrs. Russell. They spend several hours together, sharing wine and talking and develop a quick connection. Jane talks openly about her son Ethan and his issues, as well as telling Anna how controlling and cruel Allister can be.
Like any good shut-in, Anna keeps a pair of binoculars handy and when she suddenly hears screams she looks out her window and sees Allister Russell (Oldman) killing Jane Russell. As Anna recounts her story to the police, and they bring the Russell’s Allister and Jane (Jennifer Jason-Leigh) over to Anna’s home, but wait, says Anna that’s not Jane, and she swears that this is not the Jane Russell she met and had wine with.
Now the “twists” of the tale begin, Anna knows what she saw. Her shrink and the detective told her she must have imagined it all because of her medications and drinking. Anna takes pictures from her window, trying to figure out what is real and what is not. Eventually, she finds out that her anxiety disorder is because of a car accident that killed both her husband and daughter apparently caused by Anna.
Did Anna see a murder, are there two Mrs. Russell’s and is there a budding serial killer, part of this scenario? If you are dying to know the answer, I guess you will have to watch the movie. Writing this review was hard watching the movie was even harder. The one question that remains for me just because you are a shut-in, where does it say that you have to dress in ugly, oversized clothing?