Review: Great cast does heavy lifting in 'The Woman in the Window'

Amy Adams and a pair of Oscar winners (Gary Oldman and Julianne Moore) lead this Netflix mystery

Adam Graham
Detroit News Film Critic

A stellar, star-studded cast, an intriguing central mystery and a satisfying conclusion. Well, two out of three ain't bad. 

It's those first two that "The Woman in the Window" nails, and it's a problem with the form more than this project in particular that Door No. 3 comes up somewhat lacking. It's easy to present a mystery and a litany of potential subjects, the hard part is wrapping everything up neatly with a nice bow at the end.  

Amy Adams in "The Woman in the Window."

Amy Adams is the titular "Woman in the Window," a Manhattan shut-in named Anna Fox whose agoraphobia won't let her go outdoors. So she watches the world, or at least her little sliver of it, through her window, while also taking a cocktail of pharmaceuticals to balance out her significant psychological traumas. 

A new neighbor across the street (Julianne Moore) comes over and introduces herself as Jane Russell. When Anna later witnesses her murder, there are no shortage of suspects, including Jane's husband (Gary Oldman), Jane's son (Fred Hechinger) and Anna's downstairs tenant (Wyatt Russell). Meanwhile, things are complicated when another woman from across the street (Jennifer Jason Leigh) enters the picture and introduces herself as Jane Russell.

So not only do we have several suspects, there's the question of whether there was even a central crime. The mystery over what Anna has seen mixes with the internal anxieties in her mind, including her relationship with her husband, Ed (Anthony Mackie), from whom she is separated and communicates with only by phone. 

Screenwriter Tracy Letts bases his screenplay on A.J. Finn's 2018 novel, while director Joe Wright (who guided Oldman to an Oscar with "Darkest Hour") keeps everything contained like a tightly wound stage play. Mysteries of course need to be solved, and the reveal of the who in this whodunnit is a bit like a bad bite at the end of a satisfying meal. Still, there's plenty here to chew on, and the cast makes this a "Window" worth peering into. 

agraham@detroitnews.com

@grahamorama

'The Woman in the Window'

GRADE: B-

Rated R: for violence and language

Running time: 101 minutes

On Netflix