Movie Short Review: ‘The Neighbors’ Window’

Greetings again from the darkness. Every parent with young kids has been there. That feeling of exhaustion … a sense of frustration and being beaten down. It’s not about loving your kids, because you absolutely do. It’s simply the nagging feeling that your own self is slipping away. Your “fun” self is giving way to someone in the mirror you don’t recognize.

With two young kids and a third on the way, Alli (Maria Dizzia, MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE, 2011) and her husband Jacob (Greg Keller) epitomize the thirty-something couple described above. When a young couple moves in and proceeds to ‘christen’ their new apartment … an apartment without curtains that is directly across the courtyard, Alli and Jacob come face-to-face with their reality. They are now adults whose ‘wild’ nights are fading memories.

Filmmaker Marshall Curry creates a believable and relatable situation – one that will have viewers either nodding affirmatively with how they react, or putting on some holier-than-thou huffiness trying to convince us they’d never stoop to this. The brilliant thing about Curry’s film is that none of that matters. The point being made goes much deeper than peeping.

Hitchcock’s REAR WINDOW is the most famous cinematic example of voyeurism, but in this one, Curry isn’t trying to solve a crime or expose questionable behavior. Instead, he is displaying adulthood for us. It’s a lesson in coveting the life of others. Most of the film takes place in an apartment, although there is a beautiful city lights shot when Alli steps onto the balcony. There is little surprise that this 20 minute short is Oscar nominated, since what begins with the bickering between two parents evolves into a life lesson most of us learn the hard way … though perhaps not as hard as Curry’s way.

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