The Woman in the House Across the Street from the Girl in the Window, a Netflix original series starring Kristen Bell, spoofs several psychological thrillers with plot points that many viewers have seen before. Anna, a character in Kristen Bell’s The Woman in the House Across the Street from the Girl in the Window, witnesses what she believes to be a murder while trying to spy on her new neighbours through her window.
What follows is a darkly humorous tale about the protagonist’s attempt to solve the mystery of who murdered the woman in the house across the street. Anna decides to conduct her own investigation after being dismissed by the police and being gaslighted by everyone around.
Anna lives alone and spends her days looking out her window and drinking alcohol that she unwisely mixes with prescription meds ever since her divorce and the tragedy of losing her daughter. When she witnesses her neighbour’s girlfriend’s murder, she tried to get to the nub of the matter but everyone ignores her pleas. Even her best friend very readily believes that she might be hallucinating as a result of her alcoholism and tendency to forget major life events. One such event is the death of her daughter, with whom she communicates frequently.
The Cast of The Woman in the House Across the Street from the Girl in the Window
- Kristen Bell plays Anna, a woman who takes a break from her painting career to grieve the death of her eight-year-old daughter, a tragedy that also caused her marriage to fall apart. She is afraid of rain and frequently consumes entire bottles of wine in conjunction with her various medications, resulting in vivid hallucinations.
- Michael Ealy plays Douglas, Anna’s ex-husband, who is a forensic psychiatrist and FBI profiler who specialises in serial killers.
- Neil, Anna’s widowed neighbour, is played by Tom Riley.
- Mary Holland plays Sloane, a local art gallery owner and Anna’s supportive friend.
- Cameron Britton plays Buell, a friendly and simple-minded handyman who has spent years trying to repair Anna’s mailbox. He was Douglas’s first patient. He had used a hammer to murder his entire family. Douglas, after he completes his therapy, hires him.
- Emma, Neil’s nine-year-old daughter, is Samsara Yett.
- Carol, Anna’s judgmental neighbour, is played by Brenda Koo.
- Shelley Hennig plays Lisa, Neil’s girlfriend, whom Anna suspects of murder. Her real name is Chastity Linkous, as it is later revealed.
- Detective Lane is played by Christina Anthony.
- Rex, a stripper, is played by Benjamin Levy Aguilar.
Is The Woman In The House Across The Street From The Girl In The Window GOOD?
The film suffers from a rather Hollywoodized tone. It’s predecessors such as Rear Window by Alfred Hitchcock and Netflix’s The Woman in the Window have a certain raw bearing that make the dissociation of sensibility easier and convenient; but such is not the case with The Woman in the House Across the Street from the Girl in the Window.
The Hollywoodization is pretty evident from the murky dialogues even when they are not trying to sound spoofy. But the spoofy lines do work to some extent and it seems that the writers of the show are aware of all the tropes they are engaging with. Hugh Davidson, Rachel Ramras and Larry Dorf have penned an exhausting show that barely keeps its wits together to keep you going for another episode.
The similarity between The Woman in the House Across the Street from the Woman in the Window and Netflix’s own The Woman in the Window starring Amy Adams in uncanny. For starters, both the characters are named Anne. Both the Annes have lost their daughter in a tragic accident leading to them developing a mental disorder that binds them home, rendering them unable to take a sabbatical from their jobs. Both have addiction issues with alcohol that, coupled with irregular and irresponsible intake of medicines, worsens their mental health condition. The list goes on.
But unlike the more serious toned Netflix adaptation of the A.J. Finn novel, it tends to treat the issue of mental health in a rather uninformed manner. The portrayal seems like a caricature of someone with mental illness rather than being a representation. It could be overlooked considering it is supposed to be a parody after all; but when the caricature becomes a clear hindrance in allowing us to connect to the protagonist’s plight, the decision to caricature such an issue becomes questionable. Anne suffers from Ombrophobia – fear of rain, but her portrayal of it doesn’t seem convincing at all. Amy Adams portrayal of Agoraphobia, on the other hand, seemed relatively nuanced and, if not educated, seemingly respectful.
The show picks up the pace in the second half and gives us enough intrigue to keep us engaged. The cameo at the end of the last episode will probably make you want to tune in for the second season (if there is one) but there’s a chance you won’t.