• Tamar Lilienthal

“The Neighbors’ Window,” a Review

Updated: Mar 19, 2020

Films that are consistently authentic and relatable are tough to come by. The Neighbors’ Window is one of those few special films.

This year’s recipient of the Academy Award for Best Live-Action Short, the film tells the story of Alli, a 30-something year-old mother of two with another baby on the way. She and her husband are struggling with the realization that they are worn-out parents who are no longer their fun, 20 year-old selves.

This realization becomes a jab in the gut when Alli realizes that she can see into the apartment across the street, where a young couple does nothing but have sex, party, and enjoy themselves. Alli and her husband become fixated on this couple who serves as a constant reminder of “what used to be.” Eventually, Alli crosses paths with the woman she’s been observing due to circumstances that she could have never expected, and she learns that “the grass isn’t always greener,” if you will, in the apartment building across the street.

The Neighbors’ Window is Marshall Curry’s first narrative film, and it proves itself to be just as good as his critically-acclaimed documentaries. It is also Curry’s first Oscar win after being nominated multiple times. The cast of the film is no less talented, featuring Tony nominee Maria Dizzia and theatre and television actress Julia Canfield.

While the cinematography of the film is exceptional, boasting stunning images of New York City at night, what truly makes the movie unique is its authenticity. Alli’s house is constantly a mess, with children’s toys scattered across the floor and dirty dishes needing to be washed. The dialogue between Alli and her husband is also ingeniously crafted to feel genuine and natural. There are even comedic points, such as when Alli observes the couple across the street and says, “They are like a crash car you can’t look away from. Okay, a beautiful, sexy car crash.”

While not everyone can directly relate to the experience of being an overworked parent of small children, everyone has witnessed a rowdy household - and more importantly, everyone can envision a day when they will be overworked and miss their younger years. The website HorrorBuzz.com describes “The Neighbors’ Window” as a “parable”, and that’s exactly what the film is for all of its viewers - a story of love, loss, and most importantly, a reminder to be grateful for what you have and where you’re at.

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