Amy Adams does a hat trick.
“The Woman in the Window” gives Amy Adams another opportunity after “Nocturnal Animals” and “Hillbilly Elegy” to act up a storm in a project not worthy of her prodigious talents. This was the final film to be released under the banner Fox 2000 Pictures. Following a troubled production, “The Woman in the Window” was completed in 2019. However, its release was delayed by the twin plagues of Hollywood Acquisition (Fox by Disney) and COVID. It was eventually acquired by Netflix. The film is based on the 2018 novel of the same name by A.J. Finn (a pseudonym) and it marks the Hollywood debut of British director Joe Wright of “Atonement” and “Pride and Prejudice” fame. Then there is the screenplay which, although credited to actor/playwright Tracy Letts (who also acts in the movie) was worked on by many, and it shows.
Adams plays a woman with severe agoraphobia who cannot leave her spacious home in Manhattan and her only communication with the outside world is by phone with her husband, from whom she is separated, and young daughter. We learn that there is some traumatic incident in her past and that she used to work as a child psychologist. Then one night, guess what? Out of sheer boredom, she begins to spy on her new neighbors (Gary Oldman, Fred Hechinger and Julianne Moore). And then, wouldn’t you know it! She thinks she witnesses a stabbing in their apartment. Sounds familiar? Of course! The movie is rip-off of Hitchcock’s masterpiece “Rear Window“, although there are variations.
A welcome Julianne Moore.
The best variation is a visit by Moore to Adam’s home. Adams, having finally found the courage to open her front door and chase away some nasty trick-or-theaters on Halloween night faints dead away from the strain and the effort and is rescued by Moore. We do not know that it’s Moore until we see her from Adams’s point of view after she wakes up. And what a welcome wake-up it is! This is Moore’s only scene but she is on top form and she also brings out the best in Adams. Seeing these two great actresses bob and weave with one another, as they wrestle with what they can and cannot say, is a delight. The scene puts the rest of the movie to shame, yet it also makes it worth watching.
Bruno Delbonnel’s cinematography.
Then there is Adams’ very spacious loft. If Wright achieves anything in this film it is giving this space a feel, a personality. Dimly lit by cinematographer Bruno Delbonnel, it looks like Harrison Ford’s apartment in “Blade Runner” and, with Adams, it becomes the film’s other major character.
Of course, the joke is that this place must be worth at least $10 million in today’s market. All this on a psychologist’s salary? And she has a guy (a creepy guy played by Wyatt Russell) renting out the basement! Does this make any sense? Not really, and, gradually, neither does the movie. The special details that make up a great or even good movie are missing here. If a movie has no respect for its audience, how can the audience respect it back?