The Woman in The House Across the Street from the Girl in the Window

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Kristen Bell in The Woman in the House Across the Street from the Girl in the Window.
Kristen Bell in The Woman in the House Across the Street from the Girl in the Window.
Photo: Colleen E Hayes/Netflix


The Woman in The House Across the Street from the Girl in the Window




4/5 Stars


Mixing wine, pills, casseroles and an overaction imagination, Anna obsesses over a hunky neighbour across the street and witnesses a murder. Or did she?


The Woman in the House Across the Street from the Girl in the Window is described as a darkly comedic, wine-soaked, satirical slant on a psychological thriller that should have you guessing who, what, where, why and how in the hell?! until the very end.

Not only is this description a mouthful, but it sounded to me like just another Netflix show building itself up only to disappoint me. But my goodness, was I mistaken. I really enjoyed watching this show. Yes, there are times when the balance between satire and parody falls short, but overall, it delivers on its mission.

The story centres on artist Anna Whitaker (Kristen Bell), whose world was turned upside down three years ago. We meet her as she settles into her daily regime of consuming copious amounts of wine while staring out the window of her ivy-covered suburban home. However, when handsome widower Neil (Tom Riley) and his sweet daughter, Emma (Samsara Leela Yett), move in across the street, things start looking up for Anna. That is until she witnesses a murder in Neil's living room. Or maybe it was just her imagination, brought on by a bottle of red mixed with too many meds?

By now, it's easy to guess that the series is a play on similarly plotted thrillers, including The Girl on the Train and The House at the End of the Street. But the eight-part Netflix series isn't just a genre parody. Instead, it spoofs a specific film – The Woman in the Window, last year's Netflix feature starring Amy Adams. And while it very obviously parodies a standard suburban psychological thriller setting, creators Rachel Ramras, Hugh Davidson, Larry Dorf, and director Michael Lehmann (Heathers) are clearly well-versed in the genre, they're toying with.

They show off their fondness of elongating their comedy, successfully making the tone go from funny to not funny back to funny again. Anna drinks fish-bowl-size glasses of wine every day, yet never gets drunk; her handyman, Buell (Umbrella Academy's Cameron Britton), has been working on the same mailbox for years; and she has an unending supply of vintage casserole dishes, which she keeps breaking because she either forgets to wear oven mitts or takes them outside in the rain and drops them. These are only a few of the 'WTF' moments among all the chaos of Anna's obsession with proving she witnessed a murder.

As for the cast, I couldn't imagine anyone else as Anna. Bell has a way of remaining relatable even during unrelatable circumstances. Her comedic timing allows for unexpected humour in the middle of an incredibly dark and tragic personal story. Alongside Bell is Riley's convincing performance as Neil. He will make you push your own doubts, assumptions, and conspiracy theories onto him as Anna creates them in her head.

Brenda Koo, Mary Holland, Michael Ealy, Levy Aguilar and Shelley Hennig round up the overall stellar cast who have delivered a show that isn't afraid to make fun of itself while also keeping viewers glued to their screens.

I have to conclude that the series will present two very different experiences to two different viewers. The first has seen The Woman in the Window and will recognise every plot point being mocked. The second has not and will be consistently bewildered but eventually satisfied by a dark but funny series.

With that said and in the hopes of not turning you off of watching this show, if you accept early on that The Woman in the House Across the Street From the Girl in the Window is trying to go over the top, I mean the title alone is in on the joke, you'll very likely enjoy it as much as I did.


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