Tuesday, August 14, 2012
Open Window looks like a made-for-television film,but it tackles a traumatic event with relative nuance. Soon after a professor Peter (Joel Edgerton) proposes to his photographer girlfriend Izzy (Robin Tunney), she is raped by an intruder. Izzy slips into depression and gradually exposes the truth to friends and family. The movie is unusual in that it tracks the reactions of those around her, showing that they, too, are in a kind of shock. Even the best friends misread the situation or don't know what to say.
The script is also ambitious in its exploration of how a violation can bring up past griefs. We see both Izzy's and Peter's strained relationships with their parents and catch glimpses of their professional lives. Robin Tunney is very believable, and Joel Edgerton gives a relatively sensitive performance. Unfortunately, Izzy's obnoxious mother (Cybill Shepherd) comes across as a caricature, though she eventually reveals hidden layers. Izzy's father (Elliott Gould) is more kindhearted but rather lackluster. Several awkwardly acted scenes are further dulled by the bland cinematography. I won't even ask how the young couple can afford such remarkable housing.
The film might have an air of mediocrity, and it doesn't exactly punch you in the gut. Nonetheless, it is an improvement over, for example, David Schwimmer's supposedly true to life film Trust (2010) which busts myths about sexual assault with remarkable heavy-handedness. Open Window is an unexpectedly subtle and realistic portrayal of the complicated recovery after a terrifying attack.