Is Netflix’s ‘Woman in the Window’ Based On A True Story?

The upcoming thriller, starring Amy Adams, has a controversial history.

Netflix’s newest thriller, The Woman in the Window, based on the novel of the same name by controversial author A.J. Finn, is headed to Netflix on May 14, and it’s set to be one of the streaming giant’s biggest hits of 2021. It stars Amy Adams as an agoraphobic woman named Anna Fox, who lives alone in her New York City apartment, who ends up witnessing the murder of her neighbour, Jane Russell (Julianne Moore), which ultimately leads to a terrifying chase in her own home. 

The film will leave you on the edge of your seat, and as we know, some of Netflix’s most twisted tales are, more often than not, steeped in reality—from Zodiac to Trial by Fire, there’s usually a sprinkling of truth behind the streaming service’s most popular watches. 

As always, we were intrigued to learn more about Woman in the Window, and the fascinating backstory behind it. Read on for a deep dive into the Amy Adams lead film that’s sure to become your next obsession. 

woman in the window
(Credit: Netflix.)

What Is The Woman in the Window About? 

The Woman In The Window follows Anna Fox (Amy Adams), an agoraphobic child psychologist, who finds herself keeping tabs on the picture-perfect family across the street through the windows of her New York City brownstone. “Her life is turned upside down when she inadvertently witnesses a brutal crime,” reads the official synopsis.

Based on the gripping, best-selling novel adapted by Tracy Letts, “shocking secrets are revealed and nothing and no one is what they seem in this suspenseful psychological thriller”, which also stars Oscar-winner Gary Oldman (Darkest Hour, The Dark Knight) as Jane’s husband Alistair Russell; Jennifer Jason Leigh (The Hateful Eight) as the new Mrs. Russell; Wyatt Russell (22 Jump Street) as David and Anthony Mackie (Captain America); as Ed Fox. 

Is Netflix’s Woman in the Window Based On A True Story? 

While many might believe that the film is based on true events, The Woman in the Window is a piece of fiction by A.J. Finn, the pseudonym of author Dan Mallory. 

Why Was The Woman in the Window Novel So Controversial? 

The Woman in the Window film might already be compared to the likes of mega-hits like Gone Girl, but the novel was initially entangled in controversy. The novel was first released in 2019 by author A.J. Finn, which is a pseudonym of the writer Dan Mallory, who was exposed as having lied about a string of illnesses in both his and his family’s life. 

A year following its release, it was revealed that Mallory had been lying about several personal illnesses, which he had used to bolster his career, including surviving cancer and suffering from a supposed brain tumour, as well as fabricating his mother’s death, and brother’s apparent suicide, which was investigated in a New Yorker expose. Mallory would later claim the lies were a result of his Bipolar II Disorder diagnosis. 

The investigation also revealed that Mallory apparently took aspects of his The Woman in the Window plot from a 1995 film called Copycat, which starred Sigourney Weaver as an agoraphobic professor, and co-stars Holly Hunter, Dermot Mulroney, and Harry Connick, Jr.

Others claim Mallory’s novel was near identical to the work of Sarah A. Denzil, who released Saving April in 2016,  which also follows a middle-aged female too afraid to leave her home, who also spends time spying on her neighbours, and most interestingly, both share the same exact plot twist. 

“It is the EXACT same plot like down to the main characters’ back story,” one person wrote in a review, as uncovered by the New York Times. “Sorry but there’s no way the amount of stolen material is a coincidence.”

Woman in the Window will be available to stream on Netflix on May 14, 2021. 

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