McCoy on Movies: The Girl on the Train

McCoy on Movies: The Girl on the Train

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The best-selling book arrives in movie form this weekend in theaters, but is it worth getting a ticket or does the film go off the proverbial tracks? Click to see what our movie critic says.


“Man, I should have just taken an Uber to work … But then again, ‘The girl in the Uber’ just doesn’t have the same ring to it!” Rachel (Emily Blunt) peers out as she passes the home of the seemingly perfect couple … Only to discover something completely unexpected in a scene from director Tate Taylor’s take on the best-selling novel THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN. Credit: DreamWorks Pictures © 2016 Storyteller Distribution Co.


KEY CAST MEMBERS: Emily Blunt, Rebecca Ferguson, Haley Bennett, Justin Theroux, Luke Evans, Allison Janney, Edgar Ramirez, Lisa Kudrow and Laura Prepon

WRITER(S): Erin Cressida Wilson (screenplay); Paula Hawkins (based on the novel by)DIRECTOR(S): Tate Taylor

WEB SITE:’S THE STORY: Based on the book of the same name, The Girl on the Train stars Emily Blunt as Rachel, a divorcee who still not over her ex Tom (Justin Theroux), who has since moved on to marry and have a child with Anna (Rebecca Ferguson). A recovering alcoholic, Rachel has been staying with her friend Cathy (Laura Prepon) for the past 2 years trying to get back on her feet, which mostly consists of her riding the train from the suburbs into Manhattan Monday–Friday.

The most exciting part of Rachel’s existence, though, is the part of her train ride that passes by a seemingly perfect couple of Scott Hipwell (Luke Evans) and his wife Megan (Haley Bennett). Seeing Megan embrace Scott on weekly if not daily basis, Rachel is fascinated by the woman she sees as still having the life she lost in her divorce, a part of herself she can’t imagine ever getting back. Then, one day, she sees Megan kissing a different man who turns out to be Dr. Kamal Abdic (Edgar Ramirez), who also just so happens to be Megan’s therapist. Becoming more and more obsessed with Megan while trying to deal with losing her old relationship, Rachel finds herself in a precarious position once she sees Megan walking one day into a tunnel, determined to confront her about her apparent affair. 

But what Rachel doesn’t know is while she thinks the woman she has been obsessing over has such a perfect existence, the truth of Megan’s life is revealed one moment at a time … All of which comes to a head the moment Rachel decides to follow her into the tunnel …

WHO WILL LIKE THIS FILM THE MOST? Fans of thrillers; Emily Blunt fans; those who enjoy watching films that delve into the lives of damaged characters and watching how to they try to piece together their existence; people who like stories with twists

WHO WON’T (OR SHOULDN’T) LIKE THIS MOVIE? Recovering alcoholics; women in abusive relationships; depressed people who obsesses over strangers; people who hate films that have slow pacing; anyone who can’t buy into the film’s story

SO, IS IT GOOD, BAD OR ABSOLUTELY AWFUL? A film that could be best described in some way as a spiritual cousin to Gone Girl, The Girl on the Train is a thriller that delivers emotionally-strong performances to satisfy those looking for twisty “what’s going on here” tale … Even if there are times the film’s slow pace and twisty tale.

Blunt captures the essence of Rachel with skilled acumen, a necessity in a film of this type with so many slow reveals. Weaving between the present and the past, The Girl on the Train requires an actresses able to not only showcase the best and worst of times in Rachel’s life but also how she is unable to cope with her own life when she knows she’s being self-destructive. Blunt truly shows her skill as an actress in revealing and showing all of these various aspects of Rachel to bring out sympathy and empathy to her character as she tries to make sense of the world around her. 

Likewise, Bennett does an extraordinary job at stripping away the supposed perfect image that Blunt’s character constructs, bringing the “the grass is NOT always greener” cliché out to full blossom. While possessing all the physical attributes Rachel rambles about and wishes she still possessed, Bennett brings out a sadness in her character that shows how much in common the two women have. Of course, this helps act as fine balancing line between the two to keep the film’s emotional undercurrent steady. While Ferguson’s performance accomplishes what needs to be done to move the story forward, it isn’t exactly as memorable as Blunt or Bennett’s, which provide an emotionally necessary juxtaposition. The guys in the film fit in like jigsaw pieces to fill in the bigger picture, but they fit into the story well enough to hit all the necessary beats. 

The only problem is sometimes the beats take a bit too long to get to under director Tate Taylor (The Help, Winter’s Bone) as there are some scenes that feel a bit jumbled in terms of the timeline and fitting into the big reveal of the text. Other than that, the film hits more often than it misses and delivers tension, emotion and intrigue. If nothing else, The Girl on the Train will make you think twice about your daily commute, the people you see and the lives you believe they may or may not live.

It will also make a lot of dudes think twice about not protecting their passwords.