In The Girl on the Train, the best-selling “thriller” from Paul Hawkins, Rachel watches a couple from the train on her commute into the city every day. One day, she notices the woman is embracing another man than her husband. The woman, Megan, disappears that night. This starts a series of events where Rachel inserts herself into the life of Megan and makes one bad decision after another. Just when you think she won’t go any lower, it gets worse. Was she responsible for Megan’s disappearance?
I tried. I really did. I had three separate friends who told me they LOVED the book and they couldn’t put it down. I was bored. I almost stopped reading halfway through but felt I should at least see it to the end to give it a fair shot. I was very interested to see if I would enjoy the film adaptation.
In the book, time is spent building up each character, but in a movie, that luxury does not exist. Shortcuts toward character-building for Rachel didn’t convey the cringe-worthy decisions she made over and over again. She is an alcoholic ex-wife who won’t stop harassing her ex-husband. She consistently makes inappropriate decisions that not only mess up her own life but interferes with those around her. Emily Blunt as Rachel in the movie worked, but it’s not the same character.
As for the other characters, there really wasn’t enough backstory to really get a good sense of it all. Anna (Rebecca Ferguson) is the new wife of Rachel’s ex-husband and looks terrible as a blonde. Her level of panic in response to Rachel is not underlined enough. To her, Rachel is the ex-wife who won’t stop calling, texting and seeing her husband and has a terrible propensity for violence.
Megan (Haley Bennett) in the book is mature but lost. She is competitive and strong, yet has an emotional weakness. Megan in the movie is immature and vies for any man’s attention. This interpretation bothered me the most. It’s too convenient.
The men? Oh, they are totally one dimensional. Neither brings anything to their characters. Justin Theroux is almost comical and Luke Evans doesn’t seem to know how to play his character.
Don’t worry about seeing this in the theater. Skip it and catch it on Netflix or HBO.