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The Girl on the Train is the big screen version of the hugely popular book by Paula Hawkins starring Emily Blunt as the titular main character and the acclaimed director of The Help, Tate Taylor.
Emily Blunt plays Rachel, a spiritually broken woman who spends her days riding the train back and forth while watching a seemingly perfect couple and wishing that she had their lives. The object of her fixation is an idyllic young couple named Megan (Haley Bennett) and Scott (Luke Evans), whose mere existence constantly reminds her of a life she once had. That life was with her ex-husband Tom (Justin Theroux) who is now married to and has a baby with Anna (Rebecca Ferguson), a reality that Rachel still cannot accept. One day on her train ride, Rachel witness a strange man holding Megan, a man who is not her husband. Which in turn leads to a series of events that changes the lives of all of the parties involved forever.
It is hard to not to compare this movie with 2014’s Gone Girl. Both films are based on hugely popular books, they both have central female leads, and both have flawed main characters driving the narrative. The elements are used to drive a compelling story and a surprise ending. The difference is Gone Girl’s director David Fincher makes choices that makes the film more interesting and fun to watch, while Tate Taylor makes the decision to film the book the best he can and make it as easy to follow as possible, which makes The Girl on the Train, just fine. Not fun or fearless, just fine.
Emily Blunt is fantastic, this movie would not have worked at all if the actress chosen was not able to display the degrees of pain that Rachel has to experience. The entire cast is great, and even with the material being a bit unnecessarily dramatic at times, elevates the material that they’re given. There was a lot of narration from each of the main characters that added nothing to the story. It painted a picture that the audience really need to see. It is obvious that this is a female driven story, but the male characters were sadly underutilized. They’re good actors whose characters provided some major plot points, and The Girl on the Train could have been a lot stronger of they were simply given more to do.
Other that the best description that I can give for this movie is that, its okay. If you’re a fan of the book, you may enjoy it a little more because it is a little easier to follow, but if you have not, it can be a little slow in the first two acts. Imagine if someone took your favorite book, hired a competent writer and director and made a suitable adaptation for the screen. Nothing extraordinary, or even a film with stronger scenes than others, it is evenly suitable from beginning to end. When you walk out of The Girl on the Train, you will not remember it shortly after you leave the theater.