THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN (film) was more or less what I was expecting

The Girl on the Train - 2016
Cast: Emily Blunt / Haley Bennett / Rebecca Ferguson / Luke Evans / Justin Theroux / Allison Janney / Lisa Kudrow
Director: Tate Taylor.
Content Rating: R for strong violence, sexual content, language and nudity.
Source: Rented.

A divorcee becomes entangled in a missing persons investigation that promises to send shockwaves throughout her life.

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins was a flawless thriller that I devoured deliriously.  As soon as I heard there was to be a movie - THAT WOULD STAR EMILY BLUNT IN THE TITLE ROLE - I was desperate to see it. Despite mixed critic reviews, my own hype could not be deterred.
I just had to see this film, and yet when I did, I came away with mixed feelings.

Emily Blunt - as Rachel

The location was a very poor imitation of the world Hawkins delivered so vividly in her book. The book is set in London - which gives it its strong atmospheric relevance - but with the movie having been filmed in New York, it just wasn't the same. It lacked the gritty, chilly, piercing atmosphere so tangibly described in the book and worthy of being a character in itself, and the story as portrayed in the film felt rather divorced from location because of that. Since setting and location played such a big role in the book, the movie felt weaker because it lacked that authenticity.

The cinematography wasn't as strong as it could have been. In addition, the time jumps in the beginning of the film were jumbled and sloppy, and if you hadn't read the book first, I imagine it would've looked like a mess. But thankfully, it did clear up as it went along.

Rebecca Ferguson - as Anna

The plot was almost as strong as the book's, even though it inevitably excluded minuscule details. But Taylor kept some of the key literal aspects as were in the book, and overall it felt like a faithful book-to-screen adaption. Occasionally the script would waver, and it wasn't as tight as it could have been, but it was decent.
Even though I already knew how the story would end, I was still thoroughly gripped and entertained throughout.  It didn't exactly get my heart racing, but it held my attention.
Another comparison I must make between the book and the movie: I felt like the movie emphasised the theme more than the book (as I remember it; since I read it a while ago) did. The theme being: we can think we know someone but we don't, we can see the beautiful outside impression but fail to see what lurks beneath (as Rachel saw Scott and Meghan's relationship), and etc, etc. The movie made that theme a lot clearer, and to me it became utterly thought provoking. 

Film bordered too closest on soapy melodrama. It had a strong soapy vibe to it, and frequently came across "dreamlike". It wasn't real enough, and was too melodramatic and unrealistic in places. It felt removed, distant, and almost divorced from real life.  I say "almost" because it scraped by, but the soapy aspect was definitely still there.

Hayley Bennett - as Meghan

I found the acting quality varied.  All the guys were weak: Theroux was much better than Evans, but still weak. Rebecca Ferguson, as Anna, was definitely the weakest of the females, yet she was still stronger than the guys. But Emily Blunt was phenomenal, and Haley Bennett wasn't far behind. Blunt is a brilliant actress (and my main incentive for watching the film) and she let herself be utterly consumed by and immersed in Rachel's character.  She was exquisite, and gave heart, empathy, desperation, vulnerability, and intensity to the character as vividly as though she'd been born Rachel. She was a heartbreakingly flawed protagonist, and I was unable not to root for her.
Rachel was far from being a hero, but Blunt made her impossible to hate. And I thought her ability to convey such complicated inner turmoil was brilliant.

I felt like the writers did skimp on character development, but it wasn't a big issue.

The Girl on the Train was a decent thriller despite a faulty setting, some weak acting, and a melodramatic, soapy tone.   
But it was ultimately carried by a phenomenal performance from Emily Blunt who delivered an Oscar-worthy performance.  Without a doubt, Blunt was the highlight. And I am tempted to rate the film 4 flowers just because of her performance...   

Would I recommend it?: Not really.
Would I watch it again?: Yes.  


  1. I didn't enjoy the book due to the MC so I wouldn't want to watch the film at all. Sounds like a bit of a mixed bag experience for you!

  2. I thought Emily Blunt did amazing as well. It wasn't my favorite book, but I liked the movie well enough. One of those rare few where I thought the movie was better than the book.
    Rebecca @ The Portsmouth Review
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    1. Yay high five!
      I'm glad the movie was enjoyable for you :) Though I am surprised to hear that you thought it was better than the book! I loved the book a lot more, even though I'm usually the other way round ;)
      Thanks for stopping by, Rebecca!

  3. Oooh, I have the book at home, but as for the movie, I think I'll pass... Emily Blunt is such a great actress, though... gosh, I'm torn.

    xoxo Abigail Lennah

    1. She is a brilliant actress, and maybe you should give the movie a go?! Blunt did make it worthwhile!

  4. I only saw the movie and it was okay, definitely not outstanding, so I more or less agree with you, Amy. I could follow the time jumps in the beginning despite not having read the book, I don't remember having difficulties while watching.

    In which way do you think it was soapy? I think the nature of the storyline brought that with itself, don't you agree? Adapting a story like this, it must have been hard to avoid soapy-ness, or at least that's how I see it. What do you think?

    Ronnie @ Paradise Found

    1. Thanks for the comment, Ronnie :)

      I thought it was soapy in the way that it was too melodramatic and "soap opera-ly" in parts. Hard to explain, but I just felt like the portrayal of the lives of the characters coupled with the dream-like visuals, made it too "eye roll worthy" in parts. Does that made sense? Compared to Gone Girl or another film thriller, for example, I just thought it wasn't as real or had the appropriate drama. Whereas some thrillers are dramatic, this verged on melodramatic. Hope that makes sense!

    2. It makes sense, yes :) I was just saying that for me it seemed the story had a soapy angle in the first place (despite is being a thiller). Neighbourhood drama, who's cheating on whom, the MC's amnesia etc... All the filmmakers did was exaggerate these bits and I agree with you, it wasn't a good idea.

    3. Ah I see, okay :)
      That didn't bother me, really, at least not the idea. But I agree with you: the way they handled it wasn't great. They definitely exaggerated those parts, and it wasn't portrayed well. The book did a much better job, I think.

      Have a lovely week ahead, Ronnie!