Full disclosure: I didn’t read the book, so I’m coming at this review of “The Girl on the Train” as a film only. People who have not read Paula Hawkins’ novel and wonder what the fuss was about will get a passable facsimile here, but people who did read it may mostly see small missed opportunities. But that doesn’t stop me.
I’ve written a few stories about infertility.
It’s a psychological thriller, frequently compared to Gillian Flynn’s “Gone Girl”.
Perhaps what makes Emily Blunt so mesmerizing as the alcoholic lead in the film adaptation of the best-selling novel, The Girl on the Train, is that the character couldn’t be further from her real-life disposition.
My favorite part is how genuine the main protagonist, Rachel, feels.
His slow reveal of her alcoholism via shots of spirit bottles stuffed into her bag and scornful looks from her fellow commuters is also accomplished. She does, however, recall seeing Megan on her porch making out with a guy who clearly wasn’t her husband.
So to sum up: bad couple of years for Rachel. In her own abusive thoughts and how cruelly she’s treated by others, she’s a person who’s utterly broken and tormented. This is why she doesn’t want children with Scott and finds it hard to connect with Anna and Tom’s baby. Instead, the movie gets to focus on the more interesting change: Has Rachel lost her mind? Would her life and her path have been different if she had not struggled with infertility? Her performance is set off nicely by Ferguson (“Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol”) and Bennett (“The Magnificent Seven“), who are introduced as idealized figures in Rachel’s imagination and emerge as more fleshed-out characters, the opposite of the madonna/whore dichotomy that Rachel first labels them. If you’ve ever seen a movie before, chances are you’ll arrive at the solution about an hour before she does. Anything to help distract from her own loneliness.
Blunt gives a breathtaking performance, deftly capturing Rachel’s alcoholic daze and slow, unsteady climb out of her emotional hole.
Did Rachel attack one of the women? You had impure thoughts about a lady having sex in front of her massive bay windows?
She thinks she’s involved, but not totally sure about exactly what she saw. Tom was gaslighting Rachel about her drinking.
Emily Blunt, Justin Theroux, Luke Evans, Haley Bennett, Allison Janney, Lisa Kudrow, Rebecca Ferguson; directed by Tate Taylor; 152 minutes; R for violence, sexual content, language and nudity. Rachel dominates, and a more unreliable, sometimes awfully unlikable narrator you could not find. Their motivations and secrets all converge to solve the mystery. I distinctly remember because it was the first of almost a dozen times I would check my watch over the next hour and a half.
What It’s About: A juicy potboiler, “The Girl on the Train” intertwines the lives of three complicated, flawed women as the plot twists with pulpy flair. And I’ll definitely be going to see the film!
“The Girl on the Train” opens October 7. It’s the same feeling you get when someone’s talking to you and it feels like they’re just trying to impress you, rather than communicate something.