The Girl on the Train (2016)

I walked into the theater to see The Girl on the Train not knowing what to expect. I never read the novel and I had not read any summaries about the story.  I just knew that it was going to be an intense thriller, based on the trailer, and I was correct. The film was not perfect, but it definitely kept me on the edge of my seat.

The Girl on the Train was released this past weekend on October 7 (USA). It is an adaptation of the New York Times best-selling novel The Girl on the Train, written by Paula Hawkins. The film was directed by Tate Taylor, who also directed Best Picture nominee The Help. It stars Emily Blunt and Justin Theroux, supported by Haley Bennett, Luke Evans, and Rebecca FergusonLisa Kudrow and Allison Janney both make appearances, playing minor but significant roles. The story takes place in New York, rather than London, as in the novel.

Emily Blunt plays the role of Rachel Watson, a divorced woman who finds solace in alcohol. She commutes to Manhattan every day on a train that passes by her old neighborhood. As the train passes by Rachel’s old house, she is forced to see her ex-husband Tom’s (Justin Theroux) new life with his new wife Anna (Rebecca Ferguson) and baby daughter. But this couple is not the only one that Rachel focuses on. She also takes notice of Scott (Luke Evans) and Megan Hipwell (Haley Bennett), who live just a few houses down. She imagines the Hipwells as the most ideal and perfect couple. She is proven wrong when she discovers a dark secret that Megan is hiding. After a night of drinking and commuting, Rachel runs into deep trouble that disrupts her life. Megan Hipwell goes missing and Rachel is one of the primary suspects.

As mentioned before, The Girl on the Train was not perfect. It definitely had flaws that caused it to be confusing at times. The style of editing and use of flashbacks tended to be misleading, and the audience has to be sure to keep track of each character’s story and position. The beginning of the film is really the only point where viewers may be lost because so many characters are introduced. This may have been done on purpose to keep the attention of the audience, because the audience is very curious to see which character plays what role within the story. Despite these minor setbacks, the story was still very intriguing. Since I did not read the novel, I had no idea how the film was going to end. I did not know for sure who the antagonist was until the last fifteen minutes. Tate Taylor did an excellent job of incorporating a thrilling aspect into the mystery without making it too predictable (for those who have not read the novel).

The acting was my favorite part of the film. Emily Blunt did a fantastic job as Rachel. The role demanded a very serious and depressed personality, which is not always easy to pull off because actors can be too dramatic. Emily Blunt also had to act as a drunk for several scenes, which can easily be overdone. Rachel has so many complexities, which is different from the simple characters women in Hollywood are given these days. I really enjoyed Justin Theroux’s role as ex-husband Tom Watson. In my opinion, his character is one that viewers tend to automatically like. He seemed to be the good guy that came out of the Watson divorce. The audience is led to believe that Rachel is the one with all of the problems, which is not aided by her struggle with alcoholism. Haley Bennett (Megan) and Rebecca Ferguson (Anna) play two strong females that add so much to the plot. The performances in this film enhance the tension already created by the complex story.

Overall, I really enjoyed The Girl on the Train. Although there are some weak moments, the story is elevated by the exceptional acting by the whole cast. The story is fascinating and keeps the audience interested in how the events will unfold. If you love a good and entertaining mystery, I recommend this film. If you have seen it or have any questions, feel free to comment below!

This film is rated R. It is very violent and contains a fair amount of adult situations. Although it is one’s discretion, I would not recommend this film to anyone under the age of 17. 

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