As a big fan of the Paula Hawkins Book, I tried to go into the movie with as little bias as possible (lol I know, you can roll your eyes).
Rachel (Emily Blunt) is a lonely, miserable alcoholic who catches the train every morning and spies on a couple who live in a house on her route. She likes to fantasize about their perfect life together and the love they have for each other, due to her own failed marriage with Tom (Justin Theroux). When, from the train, she witnesses the woman cheating on her partner, Rachel’s fantasy world crumbles and she goes on a bender, ending up with no recollection of her actions. She soon learns that the woman has gone missing….that’s when things really start getting interesting.
Before seeing the movie, I was already complaining about the casting of Emily Blunt as Rachel. My main concern was completely superficial – Emily Blunt is just too dang pretty to be the Rachel described in the book. Lucky for us, but sad for Emily Blunt, I was wrong! They really did an amazing job of making Emily unpleasant to look at! She also did an amazing job of portraying the rather pathetic Rachel in all her drunken vomitous glory.
Overall the casting for The Girl on the Train was spot on! I rarely have moments in films based on books where one of the actors is almost exactly how I pictured them in my head while reading. Rebecca Ferguson, as Anna, let me experience one of those rare moments! She was so perfectly frail and annoying and she nailed the expressions and mannerisms of the character in every scene. Luke Evans as Scott and Haley Bennett as our missing lady, Megan, were both decent but didn’t stand out. Justin Theroux, as Tom, didn’t get enough screen time to really shine, which was a shame due to his character in the book playing a much more significant role throughout the plot.
The lack of screen time for the character Tom is probably my biggest complaint for The Girl on the Train. Without spoiling anything, the way the character was dealt with in the book lead to most of the suspense in the thriller, which was sadly lacking in the movie. They really diminished the clever aspect of the story-telling and instead went down a much more familiar path taken by thrillers which made the ‘big reveal’ more of a ‘meh’ moment.
The other area that let the film down was how ridiculously over the top and ‘on display’ Megan and Scott’s lives were to the people on the train. Megan was often just chilling outside in her underwear or the couple would conveniently be snuggling outside facing the train and even at one point, just flat out having sex in front of the windows for the whole world to see. Weirdly enough…Rachel is still the only person to notice them from the train.
However, I did still enjoy the ride. The film stuck to the sequence of events in the book very closely, and it was extremely satisfying to see certain scenes play out on the big screen. There were several audible gasps from the audience at pivotal moments and a few snorts where appropriate.
If you’re into thrillers, then definitely head along and check out The Girl on the Train. Don’t expect a particularly surprising twist (read the book first to experience that), but do expect some superb acting and depressing characters!