Review: Girl on the Train


I’m going to begin by telling you that I went into the cinema with little expectations for this film as I haven’t read the book. I knew the rough narrative as my mother has the inability not to give spoilers (though I admit I have a guilty secret of liking to know what happens in a film so I know its worth my time.) I promise one day I shall buy it and read it, but for now the movie is enough.

Anyway, to the film. To start, the film is set in America with an English lead as setting it in London (like the book) would clearly have been too much of a challenge for the film’s producers/director.

But anyway, the film follows three women: Rachel (Emily Blunt), Anna (Rebecca Ferguson) and Jennifer Lawrence’s long lost twin (not a true fact) Megan (Haley Bennett). The film’s protagonist is Rachel, who is shown to be spiralling into alcoholism due to the inability to conceive a child with her ex-husband, Tom (Justin Theroux), whose new angelic, sickly-sweet life is a constant reminder to Rachel of what she once had and desperately wanted. On her commute to the city everyday, she passes her old neighbourhood where not only does she see the home she build being inhabited by her ex’s new family (wifey Anne and baby Evie) but also she watches the life of a young blond who appears very in love with her husband (she also seems to have the inability to wear clothing). This young blonde is Megan, who seems to be plagued by her own past and secrets.


Eventually, Rachel, after months of obsessing about Megan and her seemingly perfect life, becomes angry in a drunken stupor when she sees Megan kissing a man who is not her husband on the balcony (because who doesn’t broadcast their secret affairs in the open for everyone to see?) and Rachel feels the cold, hard sting of empathy has she had been cheated on herself. Following this, we see a heavily intoxicated Rachel leave the train and follow the running Megan, shouting, “WHORE!” before she blacks out. The next morning, Rachel wakes to a sea of mess, soiled knickers and a bloody face and she suspects the worst, especially as Megan is missing (and can you guess what else?).

Of course, Rachel is the prime suspect, so she befriends Megan’s violent husband Scott(Luke Evans), despite a police warning not to go near the neighbourhood. I found the most uncomfortable scene to be when Scott assaults Rachel in her home and the female policer officer doesn’t give a rat’s arse as Rachel could be Megan’s murderer. Umm, what happened to the good old ‘innocent until proven guilty’ theory?

The one character that is lost on me is Anna, Tom’s new wife. I name her that as that is her sole purpose in the film. Oh and to be a cold-hearted bitch. Anna has no human feeling/sympathy for Rachel; she even seems to ooze pride that she broke Rachel’s marriage to Tom, is living in her home and has given Tom a baby. She brags at times that she was the other woman and how they lied behind Rachel’s back for months. What heartless creature takes pride in being the cause of another woman’s tortured existent? I found myself wishing throughout that Anna would see Tom for the snake that he truly is and I must say I struggled to muster any sympathy for Anna, even in the end, as not too long into the film she states to Megan (who has just been offered a job) something like “The most important thing for a woman to do is raise a child.” I can’t remember the line words for words. But, yah, no hun.

As someone who has the knack of guessing twists and murderers in these sorts of thrillers, I was not expecting the shocking turn of events in Girl on the Train. In a unravelling non-linear narrative, we eventually see how Tom turns out to be a manipulative, domestic abuser who made Rachel challenge her sanity and her existence by feeding her lies of her drunken behaviour, saying she was violent and got him fired. Praise be to Lisa Kudrow’s cameo when she tells Rachel the truth by saying the Ex husband actually lost his job because he “couldn’t keep his dick in his pants.” BECAUSE ONCE A CHEATER ALWAYS A CHEATER. Ahem.

Now I must stop before I reveal too many spoilers, but I will say this. Blunt’s performance is utterly mind-blowing and if she does not get an oscar then I shall protest. Her worn appearance and her grey completion is realistic, and the shadows of her heartbreak from not being able to proceed with IVF is portrayed in a embodiment of depression that for many is very relatable. In a scene where she visits Megan’s psychiatrist and devastatingly claims that she is frightened of herself, you feel her pain and you feel her broken heart. This film raises many uncomfortable topics and keeps you guessing, so I truly recommend you watch it as soon as you can.

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