Welcome to a book vs. movie review here at Down The Rabbit Hole! As anticipated, we have now finished watching The Woman in the Window together, as well as previously having read the book together in a buddy read (for which we gave a 5 Drink Me Potions rating!). We have decided to rate the movie adaptation at only 3 Drink Me Potions though, and we will discuss a bit below as to why. As usual, no spoilers will be given so don’t worry about that, and read on!
Overall, we thought that the movie did a pretty good job at staying true to the plot elements in the book, and the story was generally the same with regards to the build-up, set-up and finale. However, many things were also left out, possibly in the interest of time. Generally the feelings that were portrayed and the atmosphere that was set up was almost exactly as expected, and in fact, the house is more or less what we imagined (albeit a lot bigger).
Some major plot points that were different included her online agoraphobia group that she interacted with – this was not included in the movie at all. Although this was understandable, since this likely would have been more difficult to display on screen, and would take away from the dark mysterious atmosphere they create by only viewing the outside world through the lens of Anna’s house.
Another point that was different was her relationship with the tenant in the basement. Without giving too much away, we thought that this was a pretty big change, although ultimately it didn’t make too much of a difference to the plot. It was probably just artistic liberty to add more to the suspense and feel of the house.
Some of the mystery regarding Jane Russell was also executed slightly differently. Plot elements that we felt like were important in the novel (the chessboard, the noir films) were removed or played a very different element in the movie. While this wasn’t necessarily bad, it certainly changed some aspects that we were originally expecting for the movie.
The whole aspect of her family was also treated differently than we thought it would be. We hardly even got faces to attach our minds too, most of the interactions came from ethereal voiceovers rather than seeing Anna on the phone or computer, which we felt would have been more effective.
Most of these changes were fairly close to the storyline, and for the most part were inconsequential. However, considering that many small details were left in, yet whole parts were left out, made for a bit of a confusing time sometimes. We felt like while we understood the subtle little hints and nods to the details in the books, some of them didn’t really make sense in the context of the movie (because other parts were left out).
One of our main thoughts coming out of watching this movie was how short it was. At only 1hr 40min in length, the producers were forced to leave many aspects just hinted at or left out entirely. For a movie adaptation, this is normally okay of course. However, with such a short movie, we felt like a little bit more could have been added back in some crucial elements to really deliver the same impact that the novel did.
The final build up to the climax came a little bit unexpectedly, and was over quite quickly, and again, we didn’t feel like it had quite the same impact factor as it did while we were reading the book together. There were a couple of scenes we were highly anticipating that never came to light. We both felt that the last part could have been drawn out a little bit more to provide the same climax of tension we experienced in the novel. Of course, we are not really professional movie reviewers, but just as two bookworms who loved the book we were expecting a little bit more from the grand finale.
While we may have expected a bit more from this movie, overall we wouldn’t say that the movie was disappointing or bad by any means. However, we for sure preferred the book by a large margin. Despite this not being a cinematic masterpiece (for us), it was still awesome to see one of our favourite books come to life in a movie format. It is always interesting to see yet another interpretation of the characters, compared to the ones created by our own imaginations.
And that’s a wrap! Did you all enjoy this kind of comparison content? And if any of you have read both the book and watched the movie too, what were your thoughts? Let us know in the comments below!