The Woman in the Window exemplifies how potential can conclude with mediocrity

After a delayed release and its rights being sold to Netflix from 20th Century Fox, The Woman in the Window fails to impress many of its viewers in the face of its impressive cast and the novel version’s success.



Actress Amy Adams portrays an agoraphobic child psychologist who struggles to convince others of the horrific crime she witnesses through the window of her Manhattan apartment one night.


How can a movie starring such a notable cast and made by one of the most prominent film companies on the planet end up being so mediocre? After all, one would expect that a film that stars actors/actresses with the likes of Amy Adams and Gary Oldman and was also manufactured by 20th Century Fox to be nothing short of great movie, right? Well, that is not exactly the case with The Woman in the Window (2021).

The movie stars Amy Adams as a child psychologist, Anna, who struggles with agoraphobia, which prevents her from going outdoors in her case. Gary Oldman is a strange, somewhat cold new neighbor, Alistair, who lives across the street and seems to be hiding some sort-of secret. It also has a handful of other great actors/actresses and the film explores the old “mysterious new neighbor” theme, taking it in a new direction in this case.

Not having much social contact with the exception of her tenant, David (Wyatt Russell), because of her fear of being outdoors, Anna is visited by one of her new neighbors, who introduces herself as Jane Russell (Julianne Moore), the wife of Alistair and the mother of their teenage son, Ethan, (Fred Hechinger) a seemingly shy and rather stand-offish person. The two begin to hit-it-off and after a few glasses of wine, Jane leaves and Anna is left alone once more.

Later meeting their son Ethan after he stops by her house one day, Anna seems to be adjusting to her new neighbors, until she sees something horrific through a window in her house one night.

While looking through her window, Anna sees her new friend, Jane, being slaughtered inside the neighbor’s house, setting off the turmoil that runs rampant through the rest of the film as Jane struggles to make her case that her new neighbor across the street, Alistair, brutally murdered his wife.

The rest of the film is frustrating to say the least. After contacting the police and making her case that she witnessed the brutal crime, Anna struggles helplessly to convince people of what she saw.

Anna seems to drink daily, and while she may not drink enough to be considered an alcoholic per se, she also takes numerous medications for her mental health each day, putting her credibility with people that she tries to convince in jeopardy.

Another hit in the credibility of her story comes when the police visit her apartment after the murder, bringing the neighboring Russell family along with them, yet they do not bring just Alistair and Ethan but also the presumably deceased Jane, as well.

There is one issue with this for Anna and viewers of the movie, though. The “Jane” (Jennifer Jason Leigh) that they bring to Anna’s house is not the same woman that Anna met a few nights ago, and it is not the same woman that Jane saw being murdered just hours earlier.

The Jane that Anna meets, who is also the one whose murder she witnesses. (Screen Rant)
The “Jane” that Anna later meets after the murder. (Screen Rant)

The rest of the film upholds the common theme in almost every psychological thriller ever made: every other character in the film attempts to the convince the protagonist that he/she is crazy.

The detectives on the case, etc. both buy into Alistair and Ethan’s narrative that the “Jane” that appeared after the murder is the real Jane, that the Jane that Anna met does not exist, and that Anna was most likely hallucinating the entire event, including Jane’s visit to her apartment.

Frustrated, Anna begins to dig deeper into the life of Alistair Russell, discovering that one of his assistants died under mysterious circumstances in the past, but she is unable to find any more information besides that.

Going back to the story that the Russells are pushing about Anna, while it would be believable due to most of Anna’s evidence that Jane was ever actually at her house being subject to scrutiny over whether it is something that Anna could have constructed later, there is one piece of evidence that blows the story out of the water: a picture taken by Anna the night of Jane’s visit that includes a wine glass. And what is so special about this wine glass? The reflection of the face of the Jane that Anna met is in it.

At this point, if the viewer is still sticking with Anna and not leaning towards the possibility that she is imagining all of this, the most logical explanation as to who murdered Jane, as viewers are never actually shown who is committing the murder while it happens, is Alistair. After all, his assistant did die under mysterious circumstances, as mentioned previously.

Once Anna discovers this picture, the first person that she reveals it to is her tenant David, who viewers find out is employed by none other than Alistair Russell. Making a shocking claim, David finally begins to tell Anna the truth about the entire situation, beginning with Jane.

Jane, the one who was murdered and the one that Anna knows, is not actually Jane. Instead, her name is Katie, and she is the birth mother of Alistair’s son Ethan.

David discloses to Anna that Katie struggled with drug addiction in the past; therefore, the woman who claimed to be Jane is actually Jane Russell, but she is not Ethan’s mother.

Now, how would David, simply an employee of Alistair, know all of these details surrounding his personal life? Well, turns out that David and Katie had a little fling, and Katie ended up revealing all of these details to him.

David then exits the room, but Anna hears a ruckus as he is on his way out.

Then, in what turned out to be a pretty brilliant plot-twist in a generally average film, Ethan Russell enters the room, hood above his head while he clutches a knife in his hand.

That is right, it was not Alistair who killed Katie; it was her son, Ethan.

Ethan then begins to tell all

Ethan Russell is revealed to be the killer in a shocking plot-twist. (The Cinemaholic)

The movie was overall more good than bad. The performances from each actor/actress were pretty outstanding, and the overall plot of the movie played out well.

Yet, as with any other movie, there were also some bad parts.

While the idea that Ethan is the killer is not totally out of the realm of possibility and is also actually an interesting plot twist, some of the other aspects that viewers must take into consideration are a bit harder to believe.

Going back to Alistair’s assistant who died under mysterious circumstances, Ethan admits to her murder,