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Amy Adams’ ‘The Woman In the Window’ Is The Perfect Post-Lockdown Catharsis

Warning: This article contains minor The Woman in the Window spoilers.

The Woman in the Window, the new Amy Adams movie on Netflix, tells the story of a woman who is terrified to leave her apartment and spends her days watching movies on her laptop with a glass of wine. Sound familiar?

It will be hard for this thriller—an adaption of the 2018 novel by pseudonymous author A. J. Finn., directed by Joe Wright—to avoid the comparisons to the COVID-19-related lockdowns. The lead character, Anna Fox (Adams), does not fear catching the coronavirus but rather suffers from a more general fear that causes her to avoid potentially anxiety-inducing situations or places, also known as agoraphobia. But that feeling may be all too relatable to those of us who endured “shelter in place” protocols over the past year, leading to remote learning, remote working, and remote socializing.

Yet the pandemic is not over. Many are still receiving their second vaccine dose, or are waiting on immunity. There are still COVID-19 cases, and COVID-19 related deaths, every day. But it is a time of transition. Cases in the U.S. are dropping. CDC guidelines for fully vaccinated people are loosening. Many are making travel plans, returning to our offices, and hugging our friends and family for the first time in over a year. As we all attempt to return to a semblance of normality, I’ve heard, from more than one acquaintance, that the last thing they want to do is watch a movie or TV show about the pandemic. The Woman in the Window is not explicitly about COVID-19, but are people going to want to see a movie about a woman who’s cooped up all day, processing her fear and trauma and loss? Or does a movie like In The Heights—coming to HBO Max next month, which literally features joyful dancing in the streets—better fit this not-quite-post-pandemic vibe?

Personally, I found catharsis watching The Woman in the Window. I empathized with Anna’s struggle, her pain, her depression, her toxic habits, her obsessive movie-watching, and her relationship with her cat. When Anna’s psychiatrist (Tracy Letts, who is also credited for adapted the screenplay) noted that her curiosity about her neighbors—curiosity about the outside world—was a positive sign toward the end of her depression, I felt a pang in my gut. Six months ago, when the end of the pandemic felt like an impossibly faraway dream, this all would have hit too close to home. But now the end is near—so near I can taste it—and Anna’s story felt like the perfect bookend for this transitional period.

It’s hard to say if the timing of The Woman in the Window release was deliberate on Netflix’s part. Certainly, no one was thinking of a global pandemic when the 2018 book was written, nor when the movie was filmed or edited or even originally marketed. You may recall the first Woman in the Window trailer was not released by Netflix, but by 20th Century Studio, nearly two years ago. The films has been passed between studios and been delayed numerous times, thanks to mergers, pandemics, and its producer Scott Rudin, who has been accused of abusive behavior and reportedly caused “drama” in the film’s production. But now it’s finally here, and while the timing may not feel right for some, to me, it felt perfect.

Spoiler alert: Anna finally does step out of her front door, cat carrier in hand, and into a taxi. As I watched Anna’s taxi drive down her Harlem street—taking her somewhere that she can finally leave her trauma and fear behind—I was surprised to find myself tearing up. Yes, I thought, I’m ready too.

Watch The Woman in the Window on Netflix

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