The Woman in the Window movie review: Best to draw the curtains on this flat thriller

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The Woman in the Window movie cast: Amy Adams, Gary Oldman, Julianne Moore, Fred Hechinger, Anthony Mackie
The Woman in the Window movie director: Joe Wright
The Woman in the Window movie rating: 2 stars

Amy Adams gives this role her all. A woman suffering from agrophobia, living alone in a big, dark house, she is uncombed and ungroomed, dressed in frumpy gowns and oversized clothes, showing her age and her weight. But that’s about the only thing The Woman in the Window, despite its stellar cast on and off the screen, has going for it. It wastes the promise offered by its many interesting characters and exploits a mother’s pain for cheap effects. It uses a disturbed child to push its plot, and it stretches its twists far beyond the point of tension.

Adams plays Anna Fox, a child psychologist who now is on heavy medication and counselling for having developed a fear of stepping out of her house. She spends her days with her cat, watching countless old movies, including (and pointedly) Hitchcock, and snooping out the window at the neighbours. Lately, she has new company in the form of the family Russells that has moved in from Boston.

It’s not clear exactly what piques Anna’s interest, and the film’s main drawback is that it is not the least bothered on that count. The Russells are a mere cipher, till for some reason, of all the people in the neighbourhood, they choose Anna’s house to drop in and out of.

The first Russell to do so is the son Ethan, with Hechinger wafting into Anna’s house carrying a whiff of uncertainty and melancholy that immediately endears him to her. Strangely though, she doesn’t question why he chooses to strike an acquaintance with a neighbour in the middle of a rainy night.

About the only time The Woman in the Window sparkles is when Moore makes an appearance in Anna’s parlour, dazzling and twinkling, striking an immediate camaraderie despite the women being so different.

However, Wright, who has an impressive body of work behind him including The Darkest Hour and Atonement, has no time to build on that either. Adapted from a bestselling novel by A J Finn, the film goes through the motions, wasting among others Gary Oldman as the husband Russell, before drawing to a lame, stretched denouement.

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