Movie Review: The Girl on the Train


Warning: This movie review contains spoilers.

I have been dying (no pun intended) for a thriller that’ll get me in the Halloween spirit and The Girl on the Train did just that. For ones who haven’t read the book, The Girl on the Train is a psychological thriller that makes you second guess every character’s actions, words and motives. Set in New York City, the story is told through three female perspectives.

Rachel Watson, played by Emily Blunt, takes the same train every morning and every night. She sits in the same car which gives her a prime view of a cozy suburban house that her ideal couple (whom she doesn’t personally know) occupies. She is an alcoholic which causes some issues throughout the film. Anna Watson, played by Rebecca Ferguson, is a loving stay-at-home mother to a baby girl. Who’s the father you may ask? Oh, Rachel’s ex-husband Tom. Filled with paranoia, Anna can’t stand Rachel. But who can blame the girl when Rachel is all up on her and Tom’s marriage and creeps by their house from time-to-time, all the while calling Tom. Megan Hipwell, played by Haley Bennett, is a carefree, young girl who is Anna and Tom’s nanny. She is half of the power couple that Rachel fantasizes about as she passes by their house every morning, overlooking from the train. Megan tends to be a mysterious girl because compared to the other two narratives, she’s the one we spend the least amount of time getting to know. Who is Megan Hipwell and how did she go missing?

As we get to know the characters piece-by-piece, something catches Rachel’s attention. An act that breaks the perfect equilibrium that enveloped the loving couple she cherished. Cheating. This one word acts as a catalyst to a downward spiral that sets off the whole thriller. Cheating becomes the foundation of the thriller and set moviegoers off into an epic thrill that was filled with twists, turns, revenge and gender perceptions. Not long after the act, Megan goes missing and then once a body is identified, it soon becomes a hunt for the murder.

The movie exposes is how society is quick to point fingers at the ones who are flawed. People will easily deem someone the bad guy because they simply look like a stereotypical bad guy such as the one with an alcohol problem or the one who has anger issues. It wasn’t until well into the movie that you started putting the pieces together. Paula Hawkins, who’s the author of the book, left Easter eggs throughout the story that wasn’t blatantly obvious but directed you on the path as to who the killer was. With clouded judgment, we forgot about the clean cut guy. The guy that seemed perfect but isn’t. The one that everyone doesn’t talk about and is just flying under the radar and getting away with it all. But as fate and karma have it, the killer gets screwed in the end (both metaphorically and literally).

Emily Blunt’s performance is completely moving. She brought Rachel’s character to life in such a way that you felt lost in her world. From her nervous yet subtly hand shaking and anxious jitters, puffy cheeks and strained eyes, Emily Blunt completely immersed herself into her character. But it wasn’t just her performance that swept me away. With a tight-knit cast, chemistry has to be there and was it definitely there. The casting directors did an amazing job at picking and choosing who played what role. The dynamics and use of dialogue and body language kept me completely engaged.Moreover, the level of female characterization was done so well and the characters definitely set the tone of the movie nicely. The females in this movie have such stunning performances. Their characters are multi-dimensional. One minute they’re fragile then another second their mysterious yet all the while displaying a sense of strength.

In society, it is seen through the justice system and throughout history that guys tend to get off the hook comparatively easier than girls. Females tend to put the blame on themselves on problems that weren’t even theirs, to begin with. Society likes to belittle women and use their emotional and nurturing nature against them. Hawkins does an incredible job at bringing the issue of imbalanced gender roles to light. Done in such a way that the female characters

If you’re a fan of the book, then you’ll thoroughly enjoy the movie. As I was reading The Girl on the Train, I enjoyed the steady pacing and back-and-forth narration which gave us multiple viewpoints as to what was going on. The female-centered plot line displayed how women feel victimized and yet harbor and deal with emotional and physical abuse long before they actually stand up for themselves, realize their self-worth and leave. The Girl on the Train was stunning, gripping and made me truly think about gender dynamics, how society molds them and the need to stand your ground despite the odds.

Rating: 8/10

Camille lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. You will most likely find her wandering around local bookstores, going to a concert or enjoying the sights of the city by the bay. This Captain America fangirl enjoys attending book events, re-watching her favorite Disney movies and obsessing over the latest entertainment news. You can find her on Twitter @itscamille_ann.