Book vs Movie: The Woman in the Window

The Woman in the Window

I hope everyone is having a wonderful weekend! Last Saturday I watched the movie adaption of “The Woman in the Window,” which is based on the novel by A.J. Finn. I read this book almost two years ago. The movie was meant to come out in theaters last May but in 2020 we all know the corona virus happened so the movie was pushed back to this year and put on Netflix. This will be my very first Book vs Adaption review. I’ll compare and contrast how the movie stuck to the book and how it differed. Is the book like most books, better than the films? Or did the film do a better job? Honestly the book wasn’t the worst thing I read, but it was nothing amazing. Keep in mind this review will definitely have spoilers. So you’ve been warned.


Compare and Contrast

The movie does a great job of following the book. Some of the characters are how I pictured. Anna talking to her dead husband and daughter on the phone is kept the same to help her cope. The teenage son, Ethan is the killer just like the novel. The setting of Manhattan and the apartments, especially Anna’s was just how I pictured it. There were significant changes that were made, though I will name the biggest ones that I noticed because I don’t want this review to nitpick minor bits and this becomes a huge.


David, Anna’s tenant has a larger role in the film than in the novel. In fact he is the one who reveals to Anna who she thought Jane Russell, her real name which is Katie and how Alistair Russell found Katie at a meth commune with Ethan. David found this out through a one night stand he had with Katie. In the novel no such event happened. I remember him and Anna having the one night stand.


How Anna’s husband and daughter, Ed and Olivia died in the car accident is the same. One difference that screen rant wrote that refreshed my memory is that Anna being trapped in the car for 2 days in the novel is what caused her Agoraphobia. In the movie its implied that the crash is the reason why Anna is the way she is in the present but it’s never confirmed.


Ethan in the novel has a fake online profile in a support group called, GrandmaLizzy, which explains how he gets the passcode to Anna’s phone and finds out about her family and how they died. In the movie all of that is kept out.


The ending is slightly different. After Anna kills Ethan in self defense, in the novel Alistair is arrested for helping Ethan hide the body of Katie where as in the movie both Alistair and Jane are under arrest. In the novel, Anna finally goes outside without the umbrella, in the movie she goes without the umbrella but is moving out of the apartment and moving on from all the experiences.


What Worked and What Didn’t Work?

Worked: The ending in the film was better than the ending in the book. Anna is finally going outside and she’s taking a bigger step in moving out of her apartment and moving on from everything that’s happened.


Didn’t Work: The movie should have kept the part about Anna being stuck in the car, this would have made the explanation clear on why Anna is agoraphobic.


Worked: Alistair and Jane Russell both being arrested I think worked better than just Alistair being arrested like in the novel. You can’t tell me that the wife didn’t suspect or know anything after Ethan killed his bio mom like, “What happened to the body? It’s probably buried somewhere.”


Didn’t Work: The movie should not have kept out the fact that Ethan had a fake online profile pretending to be a grandma like in the novel.  As unrealistic as I found that twist of a teenage boy pretending to be an old woman, at the same time it explains how Ethan knew about Anna’s passcode to her phone and how he found out about how Anna’s husband and daughter died. In the movie when the particular scene was taken out from the novel, it makes Ethan’s twist of being a killer seem out of nowhere and very confusing.



So was the book better than the movie? Or was the movie better than the book? After putting in much thought, I felt as though there wasn’t a real winner. There were a few things the movie did that was better than the novel, and there were things in the novel that should have been kept in the movie. Although the book wasn’t my favorite was it the worst thing I’ve read? Nope. The movie version is just an okay movie. It’s something to watch when there isn’t much on and you want to give something new a chance. I definitely wouldn’t have paid to see this in the theaters.