At a time, when many countries are still reeling from the pandemic, what the viewers need to not get restless and antsy is the release of good, if not mind-blowing films. What we need is a good mystery, a thriller that diverts our mind, and a romantic drama that proves to be a worthy enough distraction. Bridgerton was one, the recently released Alexander Aja directed Oxygen, and the hit Netflix original, Shadow and Bones was definitely one, which made the streamer’s subscribers believe that the platform was back on track. But not for long, as on May 14th debuted the Amy Adams starrer The Woman In The Window.
Labeled as a psychological thriller, there are many things The Woman In The Window tries to be- thrilling, weave psychological traps, empathetic, sad, hopeful, and twisted- and yet it manages to be none. It is not thrilling- it is easy to see the so-called twists coming and even when you don’t, the story isn’t engaging enough to make you care if one is unceremoniously thrown in your face. The psychological traps are pitiful as one can see right through them, feeling sad or any kind of empathy for the character of Amy Adams is hard to muster, the one last twist that the makers of the film thought would leave viewers all “Woah!” will leave you rolling your eyes, and the rays of hope that finally appear are not Adams’ character finally living, it is the end credits.
The story of The Woman In The Window might not appear that obvious in the beginning, but once you see Amy Adam as Dr. Anna Fox, popping pills and getting scared at the smallest sound, the story becomes rather obvious. For the sake of those who still want to “experience” the film, here is the spoiler-less summary of the story- Anna lives all by herself in a nice neighborhood, frequently talks to her estranged husband and eight-year-old daughter, regularly sees a psychiatrist because she attempted suicide once, pops pills, jumps at every noise, and anxiously looks out the window.
Then the Russell family moves in the house across from her and her already imbalanced life is thrown into further chaos when she witnesses a murder of a woman there. But her mental state and past history don’t make her a reliable witness and suddenly it appears there is no murder to report in the first place. Sounds familiar? To regular and ardent watchers of thriller films, the story of The Woman In The Window will just appear to be a poorly stitched combination of different elements from various stories.
Many will be attracted by the cast of The Woman in The Window– there is Anthony Mackie, Gary Oldman, Julianne Moore, etc. But they barely play a role in the story while we and the plot wait for Amy Adams, the lead star, to somehow support her and other characters’ lousy arcs. We also get Wyatt Russell, who we recently saw in The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, but apart from doing an uncanny impression of John Walker hopping mad on the super-soldier serum he barely does anything else. Gary Oldman sparks some hope, but again the storyline doesn’t really allow the actor to do much more than scowl in anger and storm into a room.
It is almost a shame to see such a talented star-cast be wasted on a film like The Woman In The Window, which employs an intriguing title and makes use of a tried-and-tested formula for its story but ends up making a mess that it tries to haphazardly sweep away.