The Girl on the Train
Out Now On-Demand
What you see can hurt you.
Emily Blunt (Sicario) leads this adaptation of Paula Hawkins' hit mystery novel, from the director of the Oscar-nominated The Help.
Still reeling from her divorce, Rachel (Blunt) gazes outside her train window each day, pausing to consider the lives of the seemingly perfect couple in a house where the commute regularly stops at. But one day, she witnesses something shocking that will lead her down a tangled web of lies, betrayals and murder.
- Erin Cressida Wilson (based on the novel by Paula Hawkins)
Rating: R16 Violence, offensive language, sex scenes and content that may disturb
Rushed to the screen to capitalise on the success of Paula Hawkins’ 2015 source novel, The Girl On The Train appears to have been written on one, juddering to its destination faster than the speed of sense.
Tormented by the picture-perfect lives she glimpses during her morning commute – including her ex-husband Justin Theroux and his new wife Rebecca Ferguson – alcoholic Emily Blunt finds herself embroiled in a missing persons case when naughty nanny Hayley Bennet goes missing.
Anonymously directed by Tate Taylor (The Help), Girl has problems from the off. Transplanted to New York from London, the milieu never really convinces. The female characters, whether hot-mess, home-wrecker or hussy, are all pretty and sad; the males (including Luke Evans and Édgar Ramírez) brooding and blandly interchangeable. It's like an alternate universe Friends: "The One Where They Move To The Suburbs And Start Boffing Each Other", perhaps.
Although adapted by Erin Cressida Wilson, who wrote the excellent Secretary, the script is awful, with cloth-eared dialogue (“I could never find the words to describe how I felt when I read that email…” says Blunt with some difficulty) and a fondness for showing and telling us every tiny detail. “I tend to smile when I’m nervous,” says Bennet, smiling nervously. New mom Ferguson’s complaints about the trials of farmer’s markets, meanwhile, will raise titters among all but the most cosseted viewers.
Entertainingly bad to begin with – think Desperate Housewives meets 50 Shades Of Grey – it eventually settles down into the kind of so-so pot boiler that employs someone else to boil the pots. If you’re looking for an airplane read for the eyes, it might pass muster. If not, look away now.
Total Film (UK)
Time Out London
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Stuff.co.nz (Sarah Watt)
NZ Herald (Russell Baillie)
NewsHub.co.nz (Kate Rodger)
Meh. Give it a miss
Emily Blunt and the Rest
Aside from Emily Blunt's powerful performance as a recovering alcoholic, and a frantic last act, this is a pretty forgettable movie - one that plays out like a straight to day-time TV movie. A discount Nocturnal Animals but I'm guessing the book is a much better story
A female-driven pyschological thriller with a spectacular finale of feminine vengeance
What could you do with the power to create another person’s memories? Perhaps make them remember you as always wonderful or themselves as always hopeless. This unusual premise runs through The Girl on the Train (2016), its plausibility resting on the victim being in such an alcoholic haze that their regular blackouts become blank mental spaces to be filled with memories chosen by someone close. This twisted relationship between memory and truth filters the story in ways that produce a novel viewpoint in a traditional thriller.
Rachel’s alcoholism started when IVF failed and it eventually ended her dream marriage. She lives off her alimony and spends her time as a train passenger voyeur who watches other people in fantasy worlds while she sips vodka out of a sports bottle. Every day she rides past her former neighbourhood just gazing out windows and she becomes fixated on a couple that appear to have everything. When she notices a new man on the scene she is driven compulsively to explore what happened. In the process, we become witness to a triple set of simmering relationships that turn dangerous when a babysitter’s body is found gruesomely buried nearby. Rachel is implicated when, unable to account for her whereabouts, she becomes a murder suspect.
Constant inebriation makes an unreliable narrator and Rachel’s hold on reality regularly dissolves while frequent flashbacks create disorientation amidst the detail of who is being unfaithful or untruthful with whom. The narrative structure is both complex and well-constructed. It is like a jigsaw puzzle being assembled by first laying out the most distant pieces in isolation, then randomly laying out more on the board’s periphery. All the time we are uncertain whether Rachel is sane or sozzled as, one by one, clues about what happened on the night of the murder are laid out with surgical precision in the finest tradition of a Hitchcock thriller.
Emily Blunt’s performance drives this film despite the incongruity of her unexplained Britishness in America. A drunk narrator does not readily earn audience sympathy, but Rachel’s pained eyes and curious mournfulness are engaging. The soundtrack adds a psychological thriller edge to a well-paced tale despite Rachel’s permanent introspection. While the film has a strong support cast, no other character is developed beyond a two-dimensional persona in what is a female-driven story with a spectacular finale of feminine vengeance. The last piece of the jigsaw drops in with a satisfying thud.
Annoying till the last half
The movie chops back and forward in time so much its just annoying. Esp in the beginning when 2 actresses look similar and you wonder if it's the same person in a different time. The first half I was wondering if I cared much about the story. Emily Blunt very good as always but her character was also just annoying for the first half. The second half made the film worthwhile but not as a recommendation.I didnt read the book so wasnt affected by that.
Enjoyed but as always don't expect it to live up to the book!
Great movie with excellent plot twist that keeps you guessing for nearly two thirds of the movie.
Mind the Gap
All aboard for a scenic journey. tickets please. One of those movies where I was looking at my watch. It didnt capture me. Not enough depth in the characters. It was slow like it was pulling into a station and got caught on a turnstile and din't know where to go. And then became a bullet train towards the end and sped off to its final destination.
Full of suspense (if you haven't read the book beforehand)
Highly recommended to those of you who like being kept wondering 'who did it?'. Emily Blunt deserves an Oscar for her fine performance. Such a great actress in the movie!