Not Sticking the Landing: Dear Child & The Woman in the Window
Recently watched the Netflix offerings Dear Child and The Woman in the Window. Both featured excellent performances and both, weirdly, left me feeling a little unsatisfied at the end.
Dear Child is a German six-episode series about a young woman and a young girl who escape from domestic captivity and how the mystery of who they are and what happened to them unravels. It’s well-acted top to bottom, with Nalia Schuberth turning in a fantastically creepy performance as the child, Hannah. I hope Germany treats its child stars better than we do, or else that she takes the money and leaves the profession for ten years.
The Woman in The Window is a Netflix movie starring Amy Adams as an incredibly wealthy (that house! In Manhattan, yet!) agoraphobic in yet another riff on Rear Window. Here, as in Dear Child, the performances are fantastic, especially Amy Adams, who does a really fantastic job bringing a complicated character to life. Julianne Moore and Bryan Tyree Henry (you may remember him as the highlight of Bullet Train) are great in supporting roles, and Gary Oldman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Anthony Mackie are all wasted in small roles where they’re not asked to do very much. This is especially true of Oldman, who yells three times, and Leigh, who has, I think, 2 lines. Just a weird flex to put such talented actors in roles where you don’t give them anything to show what they can do.
Both the show and the movie, though, fail to stick the landing. The twists in The Woman in the Window are pretty good, but the final twist was just kind of meh to me. I guess the big reveal felt pretty mundane compared to what came before. Masquerade was a terrible movie and No Way Out was a pretty good movie, and both of them had big reveals that made you go, “WHOA!”. That’s not the case here. My reaction was, “hm. Interesting.”
Also, fun fact: did you know that almost getting murdered can cure your agoraphobia? Apparently that’s the case! Why would a movie lie about such a thing!
Dear Child has a lot of very satisfying twists, but literally every punch in the series is telegraphed, so that when it lands, it doesn’t really land. Here’s an example that will spoil very little. One character puts a hand on another character’s hand when they’re sitting next to each other. The second character moves the first character’s hand away. Two episodes later there’s a big reveal that these two had an illicit affair. And, like, duh!
It’s like that with every twist in the show, but the most egregious (and here be veiled spoilers, so proceed carfully) is that there’s a character whose face isn’t shown at all through 5 episodes. So naturally I’m thinking, “oh, he’s a character we know from somewhere else!” Nope! Just a guy!
Anyway, both were entertaining and had five star potential and three and a half star execution.