The Neighbors’ Window is a 2019 short film that won the Academy Award in 2020 for Best Live Action Short. Written and directed by Oscar-nominated documentary director, Marshall Curry, it was inspired by the true life experiences of Diane Weipert, which she first shared on the American podcast, Love and Radio.

What’s so wonderful about this film is the way that it in a relatively short runtime, it moves you to your core emotionally, as if you had just watched a whole feature film. You will feel resonance, sadness, envy, and grief as you connect with the story unfolding.

The narrative enters around a New York couple who are clearly suffering with the overwhelm of parenthood to first two and then three young kids. Maria Dizzia, who plays the mother, Alli is  frustrated with her husband, Jacob and feeling overlooked. Jacob is absorbed in his work and equally overwhelmed by their life with young kids.

The couple’s life changes when they realise they can see straight into their neighbor’s apartment opposite. Taking a little inspiration from Rear Window, the film then focuses on how spying on their care free, beautiful, young, and sexually passionate neighbors, begins to affect Alli and Jacob.

Blinds are never drawn, and the voyeurism that begins soon becomes a source of self-doubt, arguments, and envy. As time passes, the neighbor’s window becomes a difficult reflection of all the freedom, adventure and excitement the couple wish they still had. It serves as a constant visual trigger for all that they resent about their current situation. Sometimes giving them hope that they may return to that kind of lifestyle themselves, but mainly causing them intense envy and frustration.

All of this changes in the final act, where a clever twist leaves the audience feeling incredibly moved, and just like the protagonist more reflective and appreciative of what they have.

The Neighbor’s Window is an emotional rollercoaster, economically packed into 20 minutes, it is succinct, and touching storytelling at its absolute best. A great reminder of how cinema can reach our hearts, and teach us important life lessons without becoming overly preachy. It is an elegant and clever short film, deservedly winning that Oscar, as well as other prestigious awards at numerous festivals.

Watch full short film here: