The Girl on the Train

Film, Thrillers
  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • 3 out of 5 stars
(16user reviews)
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The Girl on the Train

The bestselling novel about a missing woman becomes a solid thriller

The film of Paula Hawkins’s bestselling commuter thriller is taking flak from fans of the book before they’ve even seen it. Firstly for committing a major crime against casting: the role of alcoholic heroine Rachel is played by Emily Blunt (too slim, too pretty). Secondly because the filmmakers have swapped the shabby Victorian terraces of suburban north London for the white picket fences of upstate New York. But the real felony here is how ungripping ‘The Girl on the Train’ is – a major problem for an adaptation of a book so impossible to put down you could easily find yourself missing your own wedding (I’m exaggerating, but only slightly).

Actually, Emily Blunt is perfect as Rachel. Yes, she’s gorgeous (to compensate, make-up artists have given her really dry chapped lips). But she’s also convincing as messy, miserable Rachel, whose daily commute by train takes her past her old house, where her smug ex husband Tom (Justin Theroux) now lives with his smug new wife Anna (Rebecca Ferguson) and their baby. Engineering works on the tracks mean that the 8.06 grinds to a stop right outside their house most mornings, giving Rachel a direct view into the happy-family household. To distract herself from her misery, she becomes obsessed with the perfect-looking couple who live a few doors along from Tom and Anna – and when the wife vanishes, Rachel turns amateur detective.

‘The Girl on the Train’ interweaves the lives of the three women – Rachel, Anna and missing Megan – hopping back in time to tell their stories. The script by Erin Cressida Wilson (‘Secretary’) does a neat job of condensing the novel’s fiendish twists. But director Tate Taylor (‘The Help’) never fully manages to convey its darkness. Even with the occasional shot of piss-soaked knickers there is something a bit tasteful about ‘The Girl on the Train’. Like a fridge whose door’s been left open overnight, the film doesn’t feel chilly enough. It’s not terrible, but fans of the book may well be disappointed. 

By: Cath Clarke

Posted:

Release details

Release date: Wednesday October 7 2015
Duration: 0 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Tate Taylor
Screenwriter: Erin Cressida Wilson
Cast: Emily Blunt
Rebecca Ferguson
Justin Theroux
Haley Bennett

Average User Rating

3.1 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:0
  • 4 star:6
  • 3 star:6
  • 2 star:4
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|16
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Chelsbun
tastemaker

I never read the book and did not know anything about it other than the hype and the trailer. The Girl on the Train is a mystery thriller drama, based on a book by Paula Hawkins. 


The more I watch it the more I felt like it was trying to be "Gone Girl" but not getting there. It was semi-predictable and i didn't find Emily Blunt that great. 


Basically, not the worst movie I've seen but nothing to rave about either. 



Marco D
tastemaker

I understand that my review of The Girl On The Train will be much different to the majority out there, but for me it was a complete and utter surprise.

I didn't know what to expect, everyone who has seen the film said it wasn't great, but I thought it was incredible.

I haven't read the story personally, so my knowledge of the story was oblivious.

Yes, I do understand that changing the locations of the original story may make a huge difference to the film. I think we should base this solely on the film and imagine that we haven't read the story yet.

It was truly captivating and suspenseful. I felt my heart pumping at a very fast speed throughout the film. For me, if a film makes me feel this way it's because it did what it was suppose to do.

I don't want to explain it in huge details of what happened, but it was terrifyingly exciting.

It was a film that will have your head spinning with little confusion, but then it all ties in throughout. You get to understand how this all came to be.

This thrilling experience had me in worries, in absolute tears. I didn't want Justin Theroux to win who plays 'Tom', the manipulative ex to Emily Blunt who plays 'Rachel' and husband to Rebecca Ferguson who plays 'Anna'. Justice will be served.

Throughout the film you'll find out more about the relationships between these characters. It feels like a tiny world with this cast. They all intertwine and have an important connection.

Neighbours to 'Tom' and 'Anna' are Haley Bennett who plays 'Megan' and Luke Evans who plays 'Scott'.

Personally I love Emily Blunt, she is completely stunning and does a fantastic job. I couldn't believe the amounts of journeys she took on the train. It can be quite scary. You never know what's out there lurking.

The manipulation and obsession combined ruined 'Rachel', it almost become a daily routine for her. It almost destroyed her. You find that not all is what it seems.

#TOTastemaker

Love MD.

Sarah J
tastemaker

I recently watched this movie – and thought it was great. Unlike comments below, I found Emily Blunt’s character really truthful, honest and quite realistic, especially as the plot unfolded and revealed more about her marriage and the issues she had faced. I loved the twist, as I totally did not see it coming. I thought the way the story unfolded was well-paced as it kept you guessing, I would definitely recommend this.

Jane G.
Tastemaker

Was very slow moving. I figured it out about half way through. Emily Blunts character was so unlikeable, I found it hard to root for her. I was especially disappointed that the end just left us dangling. No real closure I guess. I started the book but haven't finished it, so I was expecting London, why change it to NY?!

Sonia C

I haven't read the best selling book so am so am not sure if being unfamiliar with the plot was a blessing or a curse. I found this quite slow moving & when the twist came it didn't provoke any emotion. My main problem however were the unappealing female characters. Emily Blunt is a fantastic actress but her drippy, vague & unlikeable lead character was difficult to root for. Equally the new wife & nanny characters were awful, spiteful & shallow women. I wouldn't have cared if they all disappeared. I found the whole experience depressing & far from thrilling or scary.

Rellie Loves
Tastemaker

I haven't read the book, so naturally, I have nothing to compare it to. Despite wishing they'd cast someone else instead of Emily Blunt for the lead role, I was quite impressed by the film as a whole. Very dark and twisted in places, and it does keep you on the edge of your seat. I can see how people who've read the book would be irked by the fact the location has changed from London to NY, but that aside, it's still a well-made film and the impact is still strong. The lesson here is simple: if you've read the book, the film will likely disappoint! 

bailey1988
Tastemaker

If you've read the book, don't bother going to see the film. Trust me. Why they decided to move it to America, I will never know. The story was meant to be set in London, with the district line playing a major part in the plot. Anyone who has travelled this line, will know you can easily stare into people's back gardens and imagine the people who live in the railway terraces. Moving the story to a sprawling mansion on the outskirts of New York simply doesn't work. You can't picture a commuter being able to glimpse any insight into the residents' lives. Thus the story falls short. Plus, while I like Emily Blunt, she doesn't make a convincing drunk... and she's fair to pretty to play the lead. So disappointed. If you haven't read the book (like my boyfriend), you might find the film more enjoyable and less cringe worthy.

Chlo Fo
Tastemaker

This film seems to have some slightly damning reviews - I was tempted to give it four stars myself, but upon reading some other reviews, I probably have to agree with a few of the comments. I hadn't read the book, so I enjoyed the suspense, Blunt plays a pretty good jilted drunk and the film is well shot and kept me intrigued. However, from people who've read the book, it does seem like a real shame that they changed the setting to London, OK living in London does make me a little biased, but even Americans have told me that the London setting makes it more plausible and gripping as you can picture the commute. It is a good thriller and worth a watch, but you probably won' be overly surprised or impressed by the crescendo.

Sarah G
Tastemaker

Meh!


I haven't read the book and can see that might have been an absolutely gripping read.

The film, despite Emily Blunt giving an amazing performance just didn't do it for me. I think it's an attempt to explore the different perspectives of and about women in society and relationships with the overlay of a whodunnit - but I just didn't care that much about the characters or really believe in them. I wasn't particularly shocked at the climax either.


I wouldn't say don't watch it but just don't have too high expectations!

Jonnyboy
tastemaker

I enjoyed this film. Having read the book I knew what to expect and was surprised how much of the book was in the film, but was either skimmed over quite quickly or placed in a different sequential place entirely. It's one of those cases again where it's probably best not to go watch the film if you have read the book or vice versa. You will always be a little disappointed. But as a stand alone film, I thought it was OK, not brilliant, but OK. Emily Blunt's character, Rachel spends most of the time sloshed, but plays it with such honesty I really felt for her when she realised the 'perfect' couple (Haley Bennett and Luke Evans) she idealized weren't as perfect as she first thought. I'm sure many of us can understand what she must be feeling to have her heart broken by someone she loved so greatly, and Blunt's journey through pathetic upset, hate to personal uncertainty is truthful and great to see. I think it's also worth a shout out to see such a flawed woman on screen. She is dealing with so many demons, alcohol abuse, trying to move on from a relationship, but not, and finally realising she is the only person who can figure out the truth of what really happened.

There are other really notable performances from Evans and Justin Theroux, who gives a really marvelous performance as Tom Watson.

However there is something lacking in the film as a whole, which is telling me, if you haven't seen it perhaps wait for the DVD. Don't expect thriller, more lacklustre, sometimes it holds back in places when it could have really gone for it, such as the final confrontation between Rachel and Tom. There just could have been more, or even Rachel and Scott when she told him or when he confronted her. Just more. If you really want to see it in the cinema, my advice is see it, just go to a cheaper showing. Not worth your prime time.

Alexandra L
Tastemaker

‘The Girl on the Train’ is one of the best made-for-TV movies I’ve ever seen. Except umm, it wasn’t made for TV. It was made for the cinema. Made with a lot of money, $45 million dollars to be exact. Hmm.


The main problem with this film is not that it’s awful. It’s just that it’s really not very good and absolutely nowhere near as impressive as it should have been given the credentials behind it. The book it was based on has sold over 11m copies to date and as someone who devoured it, I can understand why. As an easy-to-read thriller, it was everything you might want in a summer read but here, it just proves with effortless ease why good page turners do not always thrilling movies make.


As desperate and confused alcoholic Rachel, Emily Blunt is excellent, a fact for which she deserves credit especially towards the end of the film when saying the dialogue becomes ropey is something of a gigantic understatement. If you fancy seeing this at the end of a long day but worry you might not be able to keep up, fear not. This is a plot that’s spelt out for you in enormous, Crayola coloured letters. As far as the rest of the cast is concerned, thanks heavens for Allison Janney and Lisa Kudrow, two of the most talented actresses working today whose roles might be small but whose appearances are appreciated.


Luke Evans is a solidly thick piece of beef who does little except manhandle his wife and furrow his brow while Justin Theroux is hammier than Saturday morning’s ketchup streaked bacon sandwich. It’s also hard to engage with a relatively small cast when many of them are so thoroughly unlikeable. Rebecca Ferguson - so fantastic in the most recent 'Mission Impossible' - is utterly wasted as new wife Anna, a character who seemed to have been designed to wring sympathy from the audience, something I couldn’t bestow given that she cheated and lied her way into her seemingly perfect life and don’t even get me started on Haley Bennett’s Megan, a woman whose tragic past was overshadowed entirely by her fingernails-down-the-blackboard performance as a one dimensional woman who had nothing but overt sexuality and a flat whining energy to offer.


The change of location from London to New York has been the subject of much discussion and perhaps if the acting had been better, it wouldn’t have mattered so much but I’m sorry to say it wasn’t and it did. Leaving it in London with its terraced rows of houses streaking past the train windows would have made it grittier and more thrilling; moving it to the glorious upstate New York setting ironically only added to the low budget appearance of a film that could have been one of a dozen others that look the same. The tension ebbed away and petered out completely by the final scenes when I was actively willing it to end.


I would have put money on this being directory Tate Taylor’s first film, so was genuinely gobsmacked to learn that he directed ‘The Help’, a gorgeous film from a superb book which elicited multi-layered performances of beauty and strength from the largely female cast. I wonder if the popularity of this before the cameras even started rolling proved limiting in how much he was actually allowed to do? This was a colour-by-number piece of film-making that could have been directed by anyone with the ability to turn up and shout ‘action’ and if Emily Blunt hadn’t said yes, methinks it would have been an excellent addition to the Five USA roster of straight-to-DVD movies. Not the worst film I’ve ever seen, simply one thoroughly undeserving of all the positive attention it seems to be getting.

John C
tastemaker

Girl is unable to come to terms with her breakup, she refuses to forget her partner, she has started hitting the bottle, and becomes a voyeur (from a train). This develops into a tale of fear & suspense. Unfortunately it's muddled and doesn't have any real suspense. I found my attention wandering, and found it difficult to keep my mind on the whole saga.
The book was no masterpiece but it had pace, kept you interested ,and contained tension. Also the switch of location (from London to New York) is a mistake. The stop/ start signal issues of London trains & the close proximity of houses to track is significant to the plot. 

In short the book worked - the film doesn't. 

Tiago Almeida
Tastemaker

First a disclaimer - I haven't read the book.

This film is really good and full of twists and drama that leaves you engaged to the plot almost from the first minute.

It's definitely worth going to the cinema to watch it

JK

Entertaining thriller that will keep you guessing - as long as you haven't read the book, of course. The style of the film is confusing and disorientating at times - it's meant to be to re-create the confusion of a drunken black-out - and this can be more than a little alienating to the viewer, especially at the start of the movie - but Emily Blunt carries the whole thing off in what is a fine performance. Luke Evans looks particularly dishy too - which is never a bad thing. Definitely one to catch in the cinema. 

steve h

Beautifully made mystery thriller with great performances all round.....lots of cleverly observed detail in the shots which you would probably miss on the TV at home, so one to watch at the cinema...clever use of time adds to the air of confusion and doubt which Rachel experiences...

Ioanna La
Tastemaker

I had heard mixed opinions about the book; a friend of mine loved it, another one left it before she reached the middle. Me? I was purely convinced by the trailer that this was going to be a great thriller, and to me it was. I mean, it is an Emily Blunt movie, it can't be bad. The rest of the cast were brilliant as well. 

The story of all the main characters, the drama, the flashbacks, the obsessions, everything is well blended together making a great thriller. It definitely keeps you engaged till the end, especially when it gets a sudden kind-of-unexpected twist in the end.

I can't tell you more, you have to watch it to tell. Highly recommended, but don't wait till you can see it at home, I am sure this is a good excuse to go to the cinema!