“Rear Window” and The Implications of Voyeurism

2 min readSep 14, 2021

The core of “Rear Window” is based on our protagonist, Jefferies, peeping through his window and observing the daily livelihood of his neighbors, essentially making him a prime voyeur.

While the movie progresses, we get a mystery-riddled situation, and Jefferies becomes the sole witness of it. The plot thickens every time the neighbor across the street acts suspiciously. Even though the script is excellent, the most sophisticated aspect of the movie, in my opinion, is Hitchcock’s way of telling that story and putting us right next to the protagonist.

First of all, there’s only one point of view from the character’s apartment throughout the whole movie, which makes us feel like we are there with Jefferies solving this puzzle while looking at the window across. This is emphasized in scenes where he uses binoculars and a camera. We see what he sees. Furthermore, the use of montage when Jefferies starts looking at all the apartments one by one is impeccable. We follow his eye movements, and after each one, there’s a cut to the apartment he is looking at, making us feel like we are looking with him.

On the artistic side of things, Hitchcock starts a discussion about whether voyeurism is ethical or not. Stella, the caregiver, opposes Jefferies habit of peeping at first, even exclaiming “race of peeping Toms.” But then, the opposed habit becomes the pivotal point in solving a crime. Some might argue that Hitchcock leaves the discussion open-ended and I would agree with that.

To sum up, “Rear Window” successfully captures the act of voyeurism and makes the audience a character in its story. Allowing the viewers to be a part of the story and starting a conversation about the ethical side of voyeurism, Hitchcock flexes not only his technical but also artistic skills.