The Girl on the Train (2016)

girl on the train poster 2016 movie
6.5 Overall Score
Story: 6/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 7/10

Good cast, potential moments

Can see why it would have been a better book

Movie Info

Movie Name: The Girl on the Train

Studio: Amblin Partners

Genre(s): Mystery/Suspense/Drama

Release Date(s):  September 20, 2016 (Premiere)/October 7, 2016 (US)

MPAA Rating: R

girl on the train emily blunt

Seeing the world through an alcoholic blur

Rachel Watson (Emily Blunt) is a lost soul.  An unemployed, divorced alcoholic, she spends her days riding the train past her old home where her husband Tom (Justin Theroux) lives with his new wife Anna (Rebecca Ferguson) and their child.  Rachel’s drinking drove Tom to Anna and her raging blackouts cost him his job.  She also obsesses about Tom’s next door neighbor Scott Hipwell (Luke Evans) and his wife Megan (Haley Bennett) who seem like the perfect couple.  When Megan disappears, Rachel suspects something is wrong because of something she’s seen from the train…but she herself is also a suspect since she cannot remember the night when Megan disappeared.  Rachel must solve the mystery of her lost night to either discover the murderer to find the horrifying truth out about herself.

Directed by Tate Taylor, The Girl on the Train is a mystery-drama thriller.  The movie adapts the best-selling 2015 novel by Paula Hawkins but was released to a mixed reviews.

I didn’t read The Girl on the Train, and I went into the movie blind to the plot.  Watching the film, I can see why this is a better book than a movie because it is easy to see what the author was trying to do and why it didn’t necessary translate to screen…The Girl on the Train isn’t a bad movie, but it is an extremely underwhelming movie.  Due to the movie’s plotline, a ******spoiler alert****** is in effect for the rest of the review.

girl on the train emily blunt bloody

Who hasn’t woken up from a bender, covered in blood, and questioning if you murdered someone?

When reading a novel, the viewer gets the description of another character from the narrator which might be omniscient or a character in the novel.  This is the primarily problem with The Girl on the Train.  In the movie, you can see the character of Anna Watson and Megan Hipwell resemble each other and this is true of Luke Evans and Justin Theroux.  In a movie about mistaken identity and blurred reality, it is easy to get these actors confused and add alcoholism to the mix, the Rachel character’s “mistake” seems pretty obvious.  The story plays a bit with the expectations involving Rachel’s blackouts, but it ends up going exactly where you think it will go…the mystery isn’t that much of a mystery.

While Emily Blunt is good, she is also part of the problem.  There was supposed to be a potential that Rachel herself committed the crime due to her blackout.  I never once believed that her character would be “bad”.  The WASPy nature of all the characters already painted Justin Theroux as a bad guy due to the fact that he dumped Rachel for Anna…and the similarities of Anna to her nanny-neighbor Megan indicated that an affair between the two wouldn’t be shocking.  I like Luke Evans’ “dark guy”, but he is also too obvious along with Edgar Ramirez who plays the doctor.  While I liked Lisa Kudrow and Laura Prepon’s small roles, I felt Allison Janney was too forced into the story as a means to propel the story and not a realistic detective figure (especially since the murder involved a pregnant and beautiful white blonde lady from a nice suburb…it would have been a media sensation).

girl on the train emily blunt luke evans

So…that whole “I’m a friend of your wife” thing isn’t going over well?

The movie looks good.  I like the style and visuals of the film as presented.  The whole set-up of the train and the house leads to some problems for me (it doesn’t look like the neighborhood that would have a train go through close enough to see as much Rachel sees), but it at least is done well.

The Girl on the Train is a flawed movie that is flawed due to its translation to film.  The whole movie left me wanting more especially since Blunt and most of the other actors were good.  The movie gives off a whole Hitchcockian set-up (including the title), but it never reaches to the level of Hitchcock.  The Girl on the Train instead feels like it falls between a good thriller and a Lifetime Movie…which definitely isn’t the intent.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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