The 7 biggest differences between Netflix's 'The Woman in the Window' and the book it's based on

·8 min read
woman in the window
Amy Adams in "The Woman in the Window." 20th Century Studios
  • "The Woman in the Window" hit Netflix Friday, but fans of the book will notice some major changes.

  • In the book, Anna has an affair with her mentor, but his identity isn't revealed in the movie.

  • The movie also has some surprising deaths that didn't happen in AJ Finn's novel.

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

Netflix's "The Woman in the Window," based on the bestselling novel of the same name by AJ Finn, premiered on the streamer on Friday.

The Woman in the Window Netflix movie versus book differences
The poster for the Netflix movie and a cover of the original novel it's based on. Netflix; William Morrow Paperbacks

Starring Amy Adams, Gary Oldman, Anthony Mackie, Julianne Moore, and Bryan Tyree Henry, the film stays true to the book for the most part. Both are focused on an agoraphobic child psychologist named Anna Fox (Adams) who she witnesses a gruesome crime in the home across the street from hers.

But the movie makes a few major departures from Finn's novel, including changing the final confrontation at Anna's brownstone to involve her tenant David, and also completely eliminating the character of Bina, Anna's physical therapist.

Here are the big differences between "The Woman in the Window" and the novel that inspired it.

Warning: Major spoilers ahead.

In the movie, the Russell family lives across the street from Anna.

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Amy Adams as Anna Fox in "The Woman in the Window." Melinda Sue Gordon/Netflix

In Finn's novel, however, the Russells move into a home that's next door to Anna, not across from her.

There's a small park in between the two homes that Anna attempts to cross when she sees "Jane" getting murdered, but she ends up collapsing in it due to her agoraphobia. She's later found there by Detective Little, who takes her to a hospital.

The movie adaptation ultimately does away with this park detail and just places the Russells' home across the street from Anna's (the house numbers are also changed).

When Anna attempts to save Jane (Moore) in the film, she collapses in the street instead of a park, and is later brought back to her home by Little (Henry), instead of to the hospital.

The character of Bina is completely absent from the film adaptation, as is Anna's sexual encounter with David.

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Jennifer Jason Leigh, Bryan Tyree Henry, Amy Adams, Gary Oldman, and Wyatt Russell in "The Woman in the Window." Netflix

In the book, Anna is visited frequently by her physical therapist Bina, who, it's implied, began working with her following the car accident that killed Anna's husband Ed (Mackie) and daughter Olivia.

Bina doesn't appear in the film version, however. Instead, most of Anna's regular interactions involve either her therapist (Tracy Letts), or her downstairs tenant, David (Wyatt Russell).

The novel describes David as a terse and private person, but in the movie adaptation, he's given a bit more personality.

His sexual encounter with Anna, though— in Finn's book, the two have drunken sex in Olivia's bed one night — doesn't end up making it into the film.

The movie also doesn't reveal the identity of the man Anna cheated on Ed with.

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Amy Adams. Melinda Sue Gordon/Netflix

The reason why Anna feels so much guilt over the deaths of Ed and Olivia (in addition to the fact that she was driving their car when it crashed) is because she was having an affair at the time. She ends up crashing the car because she and Ed are fighting over a phone call from her secret lover.

In the book, it's revealed that Anna was cheating on Ed with with her mentor and fellow psychologist, Dr. Wesley Brill. The two had a close working relationship before beginning their affair.

Brill isn't featured in the movie, however, and the identity of Anna's lover isn't ever really touched on.

Anna doesn't have suicidal tendencies in the book and doesn't film a farewell video either.

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Bryan Tyree Henry, Amy Adams, Gary Oldman, and Jeanine Serralles. Netflix

One of the movie's more emotional moments comes towards the end, when Anna films a suicide video after coming to the conclusion that she imagined the entire situation with "Jane."

It's implied earlier in the film that Anna had already attempted suicide, but this is the first time viewers see her actually preparing to take her own life. She makes plans to kill herself after David returns to pick up a few extra things.

While Anna certainly deals with tremendous grief, guilt, and self-loathing in the novel, she's not mentioned to be suicidal. She also never films a farewell video, and instead withdraws even more after being convinced that she imagined the murder of "Jane."

The suicide video plays a key role in the conclusion of the film, but in the novel, Ethan (Fred Hechinger) uses Anna's palpable grief against her instead.

The final confrontation between Ethan and Anna is a lot different in the movie.

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Amy Adams and Fred Hechinger. Netflix

For starters, in the novel, David isn't present during Anna's fight for her life.

In the film, he returns to pick up a few things, and reveals to Anna that he was sleeping with Katie, Ethan's mom and the woman Anna mistook for "Jane." He then explains that Ethan was adopted by the Russells, since Katie was addicted to drugs, but that didn't stop her from trying to reconnect with her son.

Shortly after he reveals this to Anna, he's stabbed by Ethan, who snuck into Anna's home. Ethan tells Anna that he stabbed David for sleeping with his mom and getting her all worked up. He then explains that he killed Katie because she wouldn't leave him alone, and now plans to murder Anna, making it look like she killed David and then herself.

Ethan even says he's going to use Anna's suicide video as further proof that she killed herself and David in order to get away with the murders he committed.

He then pressures Anna into drinking wine laced with prescription drugs, but she outsmarts him, and flees to the roof. Once up there, Ethan stabs Anna in the face with a gardening trowel before she shoves him onto the skylight and he falls to his death.

But in the novel, things happen a bit differently. David has already moved out by the time Ethan confronts Anna, and Ethan is the one who reveals the secret of his own parentage (and "Jane's" identity), not David.

In the book, Ethan similarly plans to make Anna's death look like a suicide or an accident, only he relies on her unstable mental state instead of a suicide video for "proof."

And while the fight on the roof and Ethan's death is essentially the same in the movie as it is in the novel, Anna is able to escape unscathed in the book.

In the book, Ethan doesn't kill his dad's coworker.

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Amy Adams as Anna and Julianne Moore as Katie/Jane. Netflix

Early on in the film, Anna discovers that one of Alistair Russell's (Oldman) coworkers fell six stories to her death — leading Anna to conclude that Alistair is a violent killer.

But in the movie's final act, Ethan tells her that he was the one who killed his father's coworker, not Alistair. He explains to Anna that he likes watching people die, which is why he killed that woman.

In the novel, however, Ethan doesn't kill anyone prior to his murder of Katie. Instead, he tells Anna that he and his family had to move because he was caught spying on his dad's boss's wife one night.

Ethan explains to Anna that he enjoyed watching this woman, just as he enjoyed watching Anna. His reason for trying to kill Anna in the book has more to do with the fact that he's mentally ill, and was seen by Anna killing Katie — not, as the movie suggests, because he's a burgeoning serial killer who enjoys death.

The film ends with Anna selling her home, but in the book, she stays.

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Amy Adams in "The Woman in the Window." Melinda Sue Gordon/Netflix

After surviving Ethan's attack, Anna finally goes outside and eventually even sells her home. The final scene in the film shows her walking through her empty brownstone and out the front door, where a moving truck holds most of her things.

In the novel, though, Anna doesn't actually sell her home, although she is able to go outside. The book ends with her taking a carefree step out of her front door.

Even though they differ slightly, both the book and the movie feature a positive ending for Anna.

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