Review: Girl on the Train (2016 Film)

About a divorced, alcoholic woman obsessed with watching her ex-husband and his new family through the window of her daily train to New York, and the disappearance of the woman two doors down. The story is told from the point of view of the three women: Rachel (Emily Blunt), the divorced alcoholic; Anna (Rebecca Ferguson), the new wife and mother of his child; and Megan (Haley Bennett), the nanny of baby Evie. Rachel, devastated by her divorce, his remarriage and new child, obsesses about the seemingly perfect couple that she sees out of her train window every day. Drunk one night, she decides to pay a visit to the neighbour of her ex-husband and his new family, determined to call her out on the affair witnessed that morning. Instead, that night, Megan disappeared. Rachel can’t remember what happened, waking up the next morning covered in blood and mud.

They have been lauding this as ‘this year’s Gone Girl’. However, despite being a thriller, this film has none of the impact of Gone Girl and the story is completely different. Ok, the film utilises flashbacks to Megan in the lead up to her disappearance, with suspicion being cast all over the place and an overly suspicious police officer, but it lacks something…

Having heard the reviews of The Girl on the Train the book, I was expecting quite a bit from the film. I never got around to reading the book, but it is on my list, and I am still determined to get round to it. However, if I had been waiting for the film to decide if I should read the book, I probably wouldn’t. The film was ok, but it was slow moving and rather lacking in, well, suspense to be perfectly honest. Emily Blunt was a rather effective drunk, slipping sideways, thinking everyone is watching and judging her, sipping vodka from a water bottle. I feel like the cast tried, but there is only so much an excellent cast can do…

I think part of the problem was the splitting of the perspective- It is a highly effective literary device, but I think something was lost in the translation from page to screen. I get the feeling there were backstories and reasons that were just not given or explained.

So, all in all, I think it was ok, but I don’t think I will watch it again. I want to read the book though, for a point of comparison. I think this movie was over-hyped, and then failed to live up to the hyped expectations. It all felt a bit too predictable, a bit too much like stereotypes of both characters and the genre, meaning the end wasn’t all that surprising. I think there was a lot of potential, as the themes are alcoholism, adultery, jealousy, murder, but they didn’t really provide as much of an impact as they could. Therefore, I probably wouldn’t emphatically insist that someone see this, as I have previous movies. I would probably shrug and say, if you want to make up your own mind, fair enough, it was ok. But it was just ok.

(Image from Google search: the girl on the train film)

3 Comments

  1. I’ve heard so much about this book too. It was seen as the new Gone Girl I believe (and I wasn’t too impressed by Gone Girl – movie AND book) but I like Emily Blunt so I might give this one a go anyway. I don’t think it’ll blow me away but it looks like quite an interesting psychological drama. Great review, and nice blog too. Would you by any chance be interested in sharing your work on Movie Pilot/Creators? Feel free to shoot me an e-mail if you’d like me to expand on that. You’ll be able to find my contact details on my blog.

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      1. Hi Bea, thanks for getting back to me. Putting it all in the comments might be a bit much but I’d encourage you to check out Creators. It’s a great space where writers, artists and fan can share their work and opinions with a much larger audience. Let me know if you have any questions.

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