Picks and Pans Review: Windows

updated 02/25/1980 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 02/25/1980 AT 01:00 AM EST

"Why don't you ever smile?" Elizabeth Ashley asks Talia Shire. The answer is obvious—there is nothing in this dreary movie to-smile about. Although it's billed as a romantic thriller, the thrill is gone once the only plot twist is revealed—which is instantly. In a discomfiting opening scene, Shire is sexually assaulted in her Brooklyn Heights apartment. The audience learns that her psychopathic lesbian neighbor, Ashley, is behind the attack, and the rest of the story is a drag as Shire and her police detective boyfriend, Joseph Cortese, painfully catch on. Shire, best known as Miss Godfather and Mrs. Rocky, does all she can with the thankless role of a timid woman fighting a stutter. Cortese is a handsome and pleasant new actor with an unfortunate first major role. But Ashley—normally a marvelously resourceful actress—is almost laughable here with her heavy-breathing mannerisms. The fault probably lies with first-time director Gordon Willis, a fine cinematographer (All the President's Men, Manhattan) who knows how to paint a picture but can't bring this one to life. (R)

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