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The Girl on the Train

  • Film
  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended
Films to watch before the end of 2016: Girl on the Train

Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars

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. 

Written by
Cath Clarke

Release Details

  • Release date:Wednesday 7 October 2015

Cast and crew

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