Rachel Watson, an alcoholic who divorced her husband Tom after she caught him cheating on her, takes the train to work daily. She fantasizes about the relationship of her neighbours, Scott and Megan Hipwell, during her commute. That all changes when she witnesses something from the train window and Megan is missing, presumed dead.
ActorsStarring: Emily Blunt, Rebecca Ferguson, Haley Bennett, Luke Evans, Laura Prepon, Edgar Ramírez, Allison Janney, Justin Theroux, Lisa Kudrow, Marko Caka, Darren Goldstein, Lana Young, Frank Anello, Alexander Jameson, Mauricio Ovalle, Ross Gibby, Hannah Kurczeski, Gregory Morley, Guy Sparks, Sidney Beitz, Jalina Mercado, Athena Stuebe, Tod Rainey, Leilah Marie Giddens, Claire Manship, Danielle M. Williamson, Phil Oddo, Paul Galbraith, Jesse VanDerveer, Tim Wiencis, Kevin D. McGee, Kristina Nichole, Rachel Christopher, Eddie Sellner, Conor Hovis, Sergei Ashurov, Samantha Lee Johnson, Faith Logan, Doris McCarthy, Craig Moruzzi
“The Girl on The Train” is the film adaptation of Paula Hawkins’ bestselling 2015 novel, directed by Tate Taylor, who previously made the failed biopic “Get on Up” and Oscar-nominated “The Help” (a novel that sold over 5 million copies after being rejected by an impressive 60 literary agents). The novel’s setting is switched from London to New York State, though the screenplay is otherwise fairly faithful to the book. The “girl” in question, Rachel, played by Emily Blunt, takes a commuter train each day into Manhattan and back. The train pauses in its journey opposite a house where she sees a seemingly perfect couple, Scott and Megan. Rachel, an aspiring artist, sketches the beautiful Megan (Haley Bennett) from her vantage point of the train carriage. It transpires that Rachel used to live just two doors from the very same house when married to here ex-husband Tom (Justin Theroux). Tom left Rachel for Anna, a real-estate agent, and with her now has the child that he always wanted but Rachel was unable to bear him. Rachel bitterly resents the break-up and has an unhealthy interest in her ex’s new family.
Rachel is the definitive unreliable narrator. An alcoholic prone to black-outs and loss of memory, one day as she passes the house that so fascinates her she sees Megan embracing another man. This glimpse into a stranger’s life leads into dangerous territory as she feels the need to intervene. Needless to say, things become complicated as the characters’ lives start to entangle.
The potential fascination that can occur with an outsider peering into a stranger’s life was shown in the wonderful Hitchcock classic “Rear Window”. This film is quite well-directed, and certainly draws the audience in as the plot unfolds. However it is much less engaging due to the rather unsympathetic main character, despite Emily Blunt’s best efforts to add complexity to the role. The plot is undeniably intriguing but stretches credibility at times. It is hard to avoid comparison with last year’s blockbuster mystery thriller, “Gone Girl”, which was much better written and superbly brought to the screen. “The Girl on the Train” piques the viewer’s interest but ultimately struggles to deliver a satisfying climax, despite a reasonably well executed plot twist. The acting performances are serviceable, with Alison Janney particularly good as the detective drawn in to investigate the events that unfold, but somehow the film does not quite pay off as well as it might have done.