Under the guidance of director Joe Wright, this is a match made in cinema heaven.
Amy Adams and Julianne Moore should be in every movie. That is perhaps a bold and logistically implausible statement. Nevertheless, as a plethora of leading roles and major awards recognition can definitively attest, Adams and Moore are genuinely just so damn good at their jobs. The mere murmur of any of their upcoming projects rightfully piques fascination. What more when we find out that they will finally star in their first movie together.
Joe Wright’s The Woman in the Window continues to sound like a memorable collaboration in the making. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Moore is in negotiations to join Adams in bringing Wright’s adaptation of A.J. Finn’s eponymous debut novel to life.
The Woman in the Window ticks all the boxes of some of the most noteworthy thrillers of recent years. The plot centers on Anna, a reclusive child psychologist with agoraphobia who believes – Rear Window style – that something fishy is up at the home of a new family who moves into the neighborhood. However, mixing medication with alcohol is Anna’s modus operandi on most days, which are largely spent peering through windows and spying on the world outside her home. So, whether her perspective on her neighbors’ suspicious activities is all that reliable is absolutely contentious. Well, don’t we just love a good story with an unreliable narrator?
Adams — who was confirmed for the project back in April — is set to play Anna, while Moore will embody the matriarch of the mysterious family who moves in across the street. Directing from a script by Tracy Letts (August: Osage County), Wright returns with something outside his comfort zone after the critical success of Darkest Hour. The director may have made a name for himself helming some striking period dramas, but Wright has branched out away from his established oeuvre into making action and fantasy films.
Hence, The Woman in the Window doesn’t seem out of place for Wright. In fact, his involvement may prove to be an especially exciting prospect for the project. The one thing that keeps all of Wright’s films intertwined is his strong commitment to aesthetic and the rich precision of his vision. Whether we’re talking about Pride & Prejudice, Hanna, or Darkest Hour, Wright builds worlds that completely immerse audiences into the primary drama of their storylines. They are emotional journeys one way or another, and Wright is an unassailable maestro at their core.
This is bound to be an asset when it comes to adapting “The Woman in the Window,” due to the fact that the book’s languid world-building sets it apart. Finn’s prose ensures that readers inhabit Anna’s repetitive, slow-moving days to the fullest. As a character who can’t leave her house – with only so much to occupy her time with – the audience is made to witness her escapades of all sorts, whether she’s taking lessons in French or watching a black-and-white noir film. Or spying on her neighbors.
The book’s seemingly twisty premise appears to have been rehashed time and time again since the days of Gillian Flynn’s “Gone Girl.” However, “The Woman in the Window” banks on atmosphere and character study to sell the deepest recesses of its unreliable narrator’s mind.
The Woman in the Window thus needs some strong performances to balance out the aesthetically memorable set pieces with a healthy dose of gravitas. There are truly no better choices than Adams and Moore.
As an actress, Adams has evolved from being cutesy and chatty in Junebug, Enchanted, and Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day into personifying a powerhouse of drama in Big Eyes, Nocturnal Animals, and the recently premiered HBO miniseries Sharp Objects. The campaign to win her more awards – including that long-awaited Oscar after five nominations – wages on. Adams has managed to win our hearts whether she portrays a princess who sings and talks to animals, or a soft-spoken and deeply-troubled woman unraveling under the weight of her past.
The fact of the matter is that Adams’ career has been extremely variable, kept afloat by her onscreen consistency. She has mastered the art of rom-coms, biopics, and dare I say superhero movies, because although she isn’t given nearly enough to work with as the DCEU’s Lois Lane, she takes on the role with gusto and earnestness. To echo Paul Thomas Anderson, who directed Adams to one of her Oscar nominations in the vastly nebulous drama The Master: “Turn the camera on her and it’s lighting a very large firework. It’s a gigantic explosion of talent and skill and creativity and charisma.”
That Anderson reference isn’t even as random as you’d think, because he also happens to be integral in Moore’s claim to fame. Some of her most distinctive and fearless roles can be found in Anderson’s movies. In Boogie Nights, the strange microcosm of bawdry extremes in the porn industry mixed with Moore’s tenderness in her performance makes her the undeniable standout in that strong ensemble. Magnolia sports a similarly stacked cast with various narrative subplots, although the unforgettable explosiveness of that pharmacy scene alone speaks for itself and Moore’s commitment to the craft.
Moore is no stranger to putting her skills to the test in an assortment of films big and small as well. There are big-ticket items like Steven Spielberg’s The Lost World: Jurassic Park, Ridley Scott’s Hannibal, and her turn in The Hunger Games franchise. On the flip side, auteur-helmed projects like the Coens’ The Big Lebowski are very much designed to elicit chuckles as much as any of her four Todd Haynes collaborations will reduce audiences to tears. Moore’s penchant for soul-searching, emotionally-charged roles has made her a frequent awards season favorite for all the right reasons.
Women-led mystery thrillers have been having a heyday of sorts in recent years, and that is fantastic in and of itself. The Woman in the Window will likely continue this trend of providing compelling roles for actresses looking to sink their teeth into something challenging. Yet it is also likely to do well due to its stellar cast and director. This is the ultimate win-win.