Analysis of Rear Window

Summary Rear Window is a thriller about a photographer named LB Jeffries who becomes obsessed with spying on his neighbors due to his immobilizing leg injury. As he watches, he becomes suspicious of the actions of a salesman in his building and investigates with the help of his nurse, Stella, and his friend, Detective Doyle. They begin to suspect Thorwald of murdering his wife and after finding evidence including a wedding ring, they ultimately put him away with the help of the police. Along the way, Jeff's relationship with his girlfriend Lisa is tested and he puts himself in danger by confronting Thorwald. The movie ends with Jeff challenging Doyle to observe who picks up a trunk addressed to Mrs. Thorwald.

Screenplay Story Analysis

Story Critique Rear Window is a captivating story that keeps the audience engaged throughout. The tension and suspense built up throughout the film is commendable. However, some parts of the story could have been better developed, and the pacing could have been improved. The romantic subplot between Jeff and Lisa seemed forced and lacked chemistry, which reduced the believability of their scenes together. There were also moments where the story felt a bit slow and lacking in depth.
Suggestions: To improve the story, the writers could focus on developing the romantic subplot and making it more believable. Adding more complexity to the characters' relationships and interactions would create a much more engaging dynamic. Additionally, tightening up the pacing during slow moments would make the story feel more well-rounded and complete. Finally, exploring some of the lesser-developed characters' stories could add depth to the plot.

Note: This is the overall critique. For scene by scene critique click here

Characters in the screenplay, and their arcs:


Lisa is a beautiful, sophisticated, and independent woman who works as a fashion editor. She cares deeply for Jeff but struggles to break through his adventurous spirit. Despite her successful and glamorous career, Lisa is a romantic and supportive partner who tries to connect with Jeff at every turn. She is intelligent, curious, and always willing to help him with his investigation into the suspicious activities of their neighbor Thorwald.


Stella is a caring and confident nurse who loves to banter with Jeff. She shares his curiosity about the neighbors but has a realistic and pragmatic outlook on life. She is a loyal friend who is protective of Jeff, but also willing to indulge his intrigue despite the danger it poses. Stella has a quick wit and a sarcastic sense of humor which she uses to lighten the mood in tense situations. Though she sometimes gets irritated with Jeff's obsession, she always has his back in the end.

LB Jeffries

LB Jeffries is a passionate photographer with a serious-looking demeanor. He becomes immobilized due to a broken leg and spends his days observing his neighbors from his rear window. He is skeptical of taking up a new photography project, and his boredom turns into restlessness. However, his observant and curious nature keeps him on the lookout for any suspicious activity among his neighbors.


Jeff is a curious, observant, and adventurous photographer who yearns for more excitement in his life. He is recovering from a broken leg and confined to a wheelchair, which leads him to become increasingly involved in the lives of his neighbors. He is intelligent but also paranoid and becomes obsessed with investigating potential crimes, which puts himself and those around him in danger. Jeff struggles with opening up emotionally and has a cynical and detached personality, but cares deeply for Lisa.


Thorwald is a mysterious and menacing figure who remains elusive and unemotional throughout the movie despite becoming increasingly aggressive and paranoid. He is suspected of potentially being involved in a murder and is the main suspect of Jeff's investigation throughout the story.

Miss Lonely Hearts

Miss Lonely Hearts is a woman who suffers from deep loneliness and depression, brought on by various life events and personal struggles. She is fragile and vulnerable, seeking connection and validation from outside sources. Despite her attempts to reach out and connect with others, she is consistently met with rejection and disappointment, which fuels her feelings of despair and hopelessness. Her faith and spirituality provide her with some comfort and solace, but ultimately, she struggles to find meaning and purpose in her life.

Character Arc Critique Suggestions
Lisa Throughout the movie, Lisa is presented as a caring and supportive partner to Jeff, but also as someone who struggles to connect with his more adventurous and unconventional personality. As the investigation into Thorwald's activities deepens, Lisa becomes more involved and invested in uncovering the truth. She eventually takes significant risks to gather evidence against Thorwald, ultimately revealing her bravery and commitment to justice. By the end of the movie, Lisa has not only helped Jeff to solve the case, but she has also deepened her relationship with him and gained a newfound sense of confidence and independence in herself. The character of Lisa is well-developed and nuanced throughout the movie. However, her arc could be more fully realized if there was more explicit emphasis on her struggle to reconcile her successful career with her romantic aspirations and on her eventual triumph in achieving both. Additionally, some of Lisa's actions in the movie, particularly her breaking into Thorwald's apartment, could benefit from more backstory or motivation to make them feel more integral to her character development.
To further develop Lisa's arc, the screenplay could include scenes or dialogue that show her struggle to balance her career and her relationship with Jeff, as well as her growing sense of confidence and independence as a result of her involvement in the investigation. Additionally, Lisa's motivations for certain actions, such as her decision to break into Thorwald's apartment, could be made clearer through enhanced dialogue or flashbacks to earlier scenes in the movie.
Stella Stella starts out as Jeff's supportive nurse, always willing to indulge his curiosity about the neighbors. As he becomes more and more obsessed, she becomes concerned for his safety and tries to talk him out of getting too involved. However, when they discover evidence of a murder, Stella is drawn into the investigation with gusto. She proves to be an asset to the team with her resourcefulness and wit, but her enthusiasm also puts her in danger. In the end, Stella helps Jeff escape and takes charge of their plan, cementing her position as a loyal friend. The character arc for Stella is solid but somewhat predictable. She starts out as a reliable confidant and eventually becomes an active participant in the investigation. However, the shift from concerned friend to enthusiastic partner is a bit abrupt and could use more development. Additionally, Stella's pragmatism and wit are not fully explored, and the character could benefit from more nuance and complexity.
To improve Stella's character arc, give her more backstory and motivation for why she is so dedicated to helping Jeff. Perhaps she has a personal stake in the investigation or has a strong sense of justice. Additionally, explore her relationship with Jeff more fully, particularly her frustrations with his obsession. Finally, allow her pragmatism and wit to shine by giving her more opportunities to problem-solve and joke around with the group.
LB Jeffries LB Jeffries undergoes a transformation as he delves deeper into the lives of his neighbors. From being an immobilized and bored photographer, he turns into an investigative observer, digging up evidence of a murder. Despite warnings from his girlfriend, Lisa, and his friend, Doyle, he risks his life to solve the case. In the end, he not only solves the mystery but also finds the courage to commit to a relationship with Lisa. The character arc of LB Jeffries appears well-constructed, with a clear transformation from a bored and cynical photographer to an investigative observer with newfound courage. However, while Jeffries initially seems skeptical of taking up the assignment from Gunnison, his transition to an investigative observer appears too sudden and convenient.
To improve the character arc, it would be beneficial to show Jeffries struggling more with his boredom and restlessness, leading to his curiosity about his neighbors. Another suggestion could be to show Jeffries gradually building up his investigation skills, perhaps with the help of Lisa or Doyle, instead of suddenly becoming an investigative observer. This would add more depth to his transformation and make it more convincing.
Jeff Jeff's character arc starts as a restless and skeptical adventurer who is unsure about his relationship with Lisa. He then becomes increasingly involved in his neighbors' lives due to his curiosity and boredom. As his obsession grows, he puts himself and those around him in danger, highlighting his loyalty and willingness to take risks. By the end of the screenplay, Jeff has developed a stronger emotional connection with Lisa and become a brave and resourceful risk-taker. While Jeff's curiosity and obsession with his neighbors are interesting, it often leads to him making reckless decisions that put others in danger. His personality is also rather cynical and detached, making it hard to connect emotionally with him. Additionally, his limited growth throughout the screenplay could be further developed to make his character arc more impactful.
To improve Jeff's character arc, it would be helpful to have him confront and work through his emotional detachment and trust issues. The consequences of his recklessness could also be explored in greater depth, forcing him to face the reality of his actions. Additionally, having him take responsibility for the danger he puts others in and actively work to keep them safe can help strengthen his growth and redemption arc.
Thorwald Thorwald's character arc begins as a seemingly calm and collected neighbor who rapidly becomes more and more unhinged as Jeff and his companions begin to investigate him. Despite being initially somewhat elusive, Thorwald becomes increasingly violent and aggressive as he becomes more paranoid and desperate. Ultimately, his true nature is revealed and justice is served. Thorwald's character arc is relatively straightforward and predictable. While his transformation from cool and collected to violent and desperate is intriguing, the resolution of his arc is somewhat anticlimactic and underwhelming.
To improve Thorwald's character arc, it might be interesting to explore some of the motivations behind his behavior more deeply. Additionally, finding a more satisfying way to bring him to justice could help make his arc more impactful and memorable.
Miss Lonely Hearts Miss Lonely Hearts' character arc involves a progression from a place of deep loneliness, despair, and potential suicidal tendencies towards a greater sense of self-worth and self-acceptance. Through her interactions with Jeff and the other characters, she begins to see herself in a more positive light and recognizes the potential for love and connection in her life. She also begins to take steps to address some of her underlying issues and seeks help for her depression and anxiety. By the end of the film, she has developed a greater sense of hope and optimism for her future. The character arc for Miss Lonely Hearts is fairly well-developed and realistic, but it could benefit from more emphasis on her personal growth and agency. Throughout the film, she is largely defined by her relationships with others, rather than her own inner journey. Additionally, her reliance on male attention and validation could be seen as problematic, and it would be beneficial to see her find fulfillment and happiness outside of romantic relationships.
To improve the character arc for Miss Lonely Hearts, it would be helpful to give her more agency and autonomy. This could involve exploring her past experiences and trauma more deeply, as well as giving her more opportunities to take action and make decisions for herself. Additionally, it would be important to emphasize the importance of self-love and self-acceptance, rather than relying on external sources of validation. Finally, it might be helpful to broaden her relationships beyond romantic partners and explore other types of meaningful connections and sources of support.
Theme Theme Details Themee Explanation
VoyeurismThe protagonist, LB Jeffries, spies on his neighbors as a form of entertainment due to his boredom and injury.Voyeurism is a theme throughout the screenplay, demonstrated by Jeffries' obsession with observing his neighbors through his rear window. It highlights the problematic nature of observing and intruding on other people's privacy.
ParanoiaJeffries becomes increasingly suspicious of his neighbor and assigns his friend Coyne as a detective to investigate.Throughout the screenplay, Jeffries becomes increasingly paranoid of his neighbor's actions, leading him to assign his friend as a detective to solve a potential crime. This theme highlights how paranoia can cloud one's judgment and lead them to act out of character.
ObsessionJeffries becomes obsessed with his neighbor's behavior, leading to tension in his relationship with Lisa.Jeffries' obsession with his neighbor's behavior becomes a prominent theme throughout the screenplay, ultimately impacting his romantic relationship with Lisa. It highlights how an obsession can consume a person's life and lead to negative consequences.
SuspicionJeffries suspects his neighbor of committing murder, leading to an investigation and ultimately uncovering evidence of the crime.Suspicion is a theme throughout the screenplay, with Jeffries becoming increasingly convinced that his neighbor has committed murder. This quest for the truth ultimately leads to the discovery of evidence and the solving of the crime.
Appearance vs. RealityJeffries' observations of his neighbors lead him to form conclusions about their lives that are not always accurate.Throughout the screenplay, Jeffries' observations of his neighbors lead him to make judgments about their lives that are not always accurate, highlighting the theme of appearance vs. reality. This theme demonstrates that appearances can be deceiving and that it is important to look beyond surface-level observations.

Screenwriting Resources on Themes


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Studio Binder Movie Themes: Examples of Common Themes for Screenwriters
Coverfly Improving your Screenplay's theme
John August Writing from Theme

YouTube Videos

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