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Amy Adams Goes For Broke in “The Woman In The Window” (Review)

Based on the 2018 novel of the same name, “The Woman In The Window” has had a long and troubled road to release.

It was originally scheduled to hit theaters in the fall of 2019, but hit two major snags along the way. Test audiences rated the film poorly enough that portions were reshot and re-edited. Originally a 20th Century Fox release, it also had the misfortune of being one of the last Fox projects sitting unreleased when Disney took over. The new regime kicked it to the curb and it ended up in the hands of Netflix.

Now, I’ve not read the book and have absolutely no idea what the reshoots did to the change the final product, but what I can tell you is that if you have an affinity for throwback 90s thrillers like “Pacific Heights,” “Unlawful Entry,” “The Hand That Rocks The Cradle,” and “Deceived,” you should go ahead and bump this to the top of your queue.

Amy Adams stars (“It is the titular role!“) as Dr. Anna Fox. Try this one on for size: she’s a child psychologist who has become painfully agoraphobic and cannot leave her (admittedly massive and beautifully designed) brownstone in New York.

Anna isn’t completely alone as she has a tenant named David (Wyatt Russell) in a basement apartment and he mostly divides his time rather evenly between helping her and chastising her for not leaving the house.

When she’s not in therapy herself, Anna spends a lot of time leering out the windows and observing her neighbors. Soon, the Russell family moves in across the street and their young son Ethan (Fred Hechinger) drops by to offer up a small gift from his mother Jane (Julianne Moore), who later comes by herself to kiki with Anna.

The “Rear Window” influence comes on strong from this point on as Anna becomes, perhaps, a little too interested in what is going on in the Russell household (does nobody else in New York own curtains?). Are Anna’s medications too much for her to handle or does she later see Alistair Russell (Gary Oldman) violently attack Jane from her upstairs window?

Obviously, Anna is convinced of the latter and we begin a she said/he said game of cat and mouse between neighbors and an easily exhausted police force. To say much more would ruin the twists and turns that make it so much fun.

Amy Adams absolutely goes for broke here. Her performance is so committed and intense that it makes the film worth watching. You may roll your eyes at the plot twists, but she eats up every ounce of screen time and I can’t imagine anybody else selling the character so completely.

Joe Wright (“Darkest Hour”) and screenwriter Tracy Letts took a beach read and made a pure popcorn movie in every sense of the word. If anything, because of the limitations of location, it feels a bit too much like a play at times.

This is the kind of throwback major studio thriller that we don’t see often enough anymore and I, for one, am here for it in a big way.

The Woman In The Window” is streaming now on Netflix in a beautiful 4K/Dolby Vision transfer.

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