The Girl on the Train is a film that is a treat for lovers of the slow psychological thriller. Many have compared the film and the novel by Paula Hawkins it is based on to the much loved Gone Girl, which was also based on a book just like The Girl on the Train. But why should the two films, or the two books, be compared? Yes, both are about a girl or girls, and the relationship you have with your spouse, and both are based on a novel. But two movies can be treated in a different manner. So we quite enjoyed watching The Girl on the Train, produced by filmmaker Steven Spielberg‘s DreamWorks Pictures and India’s Reliance Entertainment, and directed by Tate Taylor. Here’s what we think of The Girl on the Train!
At first the film is confusing, and it’s meant to be because it’s a psycho thriller, after all. But thankfully it does not steer into the Christopher Nolan-Memento category. The Girl on the Train is slow paced but soon begins to make sense. But it can be a bit jarring to first comprehend the three parallel narratives that are actually intertwined. The three women – Rachel Watson, Megan Hipwell and Anna – their stories, their men – and then, a murder! But even until the interval, you don’t know if The Girl on the Train is about the psychological state of its lead character Rachel Watson (played by actress Emily Blunt) or something else. It seems more a film about Rachel and her delirious state of mind, but wait until the end to see what it is about!
The Story of The Girl on the Train
Rachel is lonely, disturbed and alcoholic after her divorce to Tom Watson (Justin Theroux), and travels alone to New York every day by train and back. She pretends she is going to work but is making notes and drawings of the people she sees on the way, especially those who live by the tracks. And these are not shanties we see like in and around Mumbai when we travel by local trains, but huge houses with well-off families.
But there’s a catch to why Rachel takes the train to NY every day and watches these houses – she lived with her husband in one of them! So, she is always looking for a glimpse of him, or his wife Anna (Rebecca Ferguson) and their baby. But there is another couple she likes watching – Megan (Haley Bennett) and her hubby Scott Hipwell (Luke Evans) – who seem like a perfect pair. Until Rachel spots Megan with another man, and then she suddenly goes missing! But she first thinks of her as Anna, and things go berserk from then on in her head.
All the three women are complicated characters, especially Rachel and Megan, with the latter having had multiple careers before leading the ‘boring’ life of a wife and nanny. Megan regularly visits a shrink Dr Kamal Abdic (Edgar Ramirez), who is rather good-looking. Rachel has had a failed marriage because she couldn’t have a baby, but her ex-hubby Tom is not a clean character either. But Rachel believes otherwise and keeps stalking or calling him. This deepens the missing and murder mystery. Rachel wants to kill Anna and dreams of doing so. Or has she killed her already? Or killed Megan? She can’t remember anything, as she was drunk!
Emily Blunt as Rachel Watson holds the movie together that could have crumbled because of is pace. The other actors are equally effective; Haley Bennett, Rebecca Ferguson, Luke Evans and Edgar Ramirez, among others like FRIENDS star Lisa Kudrow as Martha, Allison Janney as Detective Riley and Laura Prepon as Rachel’s friend Cathy.
For lovers of thrillers that unfold slowly, for people who don’t rush for the popcorn or their mobile phone while watching a movie in a theatre, The Girl on the Train is a wonderful watch. Sit back, relax with a coffee or cola, and enjoy this ride with The Girl on the Train! And don’t forget to wait till the end – there are many mysteries to be revealed.
Rating: 3.5 stars.