Review: 'The Woman In The House Across The Street From The Girl In The Window' a Quirky Dramedy

by Karin McKie

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Friday January 28, 2022

'The Woman In The House Across The Street From The Girl In The Window'
'The Woman In The House Across The Street From The Girl In The Window'  (Source:Netflix)

Kristen Bell executive produces and stars in the quirky eight-part murder-mystery dramedy "The Woman in the House Across the Street from the Girl in the Window."

Bell is Anna, alone after the loss of her young daughter and subsequent divorce. Despite the protestations of her best friend Sloane (Mary Holland), Anna hides in her comfortable suburban house, drowning her sadness in bottle after bottle of red wine, consumed via generous pours in large glasses and chased by prescription medicine for depression. Her face and waistline don't betray the ravages of alcoholism, but the growing bowl of wine corks on her kitchen counter confirms her serious habit.

She's not a fan of all liquids, however. She suffers from ombrophobia — a fear of rain — since the last time she saw her daughter was in a downpour three years ago. So she's forced to abide inside, disappearing by wearing neutral tones (costumes by Alex Woehrle), reading books like the meta "The Girl Across the Lake," and snooping on her neighbors like in "Rear Window," rather than continuing her career as a talented flower painter.

Hunky widower Neil (Tom Riley) moves in across the street with his young daughter, and Anna considers the opportunity to replace her lost family with these ready-made components. But her plans are complicated by meddlesome neighbors and intrusive detectives amid a mounting body count.

Each 30-minute episode (also executive produced by Will Ferrell) is as dry as the wine Anna quaffs. Oddball touches abound: She forgets to wear oven mitts when removing numerous casseroles from the oven; she sometimes speaks in a fake British accent; and whenever Anna visits her daughter's grave, the tombstone bears a different epitaph:

"If love could have saved you, you would have lived forever."

"In heaven, you can dance like no one's watching."

"There's no 'I' in Heaven."

It's the opposite of in vino veritas; it's a progression toward obfuscation, in this surprising series of plot twists.

"The Woman in the House Across the Street from the Girl in the Window" streams on Netflix starting January 28.

Karin McKie is a writer, educator and activist at KarinMcKie.com

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