The Girl on the Train is an adaption of Paula Hawkins 2015 bestseller of the same name and is a mix of a love story gone wrong and a murder mystery. The film director, Tate Taylor, who also directed The Help, sets the stage with three women who all live in the suburban area of New York along the Hudson River. Each woman lives a different life until they all begin to messily intertwine thanks to the title character, Rachel (Emily Blunt). When the audience meets Rachel, she is a struggling alcoholic obsessing over her ex-husband, Tom (Justin Theroux), his new wife, Anna (Rebecca Ferguson), and the couple’s daughter whom he obtained by cheating on Rachel during their marriage two years prior. Rachel rides the train into Manhattan every day just to come to a stop on the road that runs along the old house in which she lived with her ex-husband. She watches them day-to-day, drunkenly, in addition to fixating on the next door neighbor who she doesn’t even know— Megan Hipwell (Haley Bennett), the woman who looks like she has it all from across the tracks, standing on her balcony of her home.
Throughout the film, we see flashbacks of Rachel having tantrums and blackouts which led her to be the woman she is now–a divorceé who drinks cheap alcohol out of a water bottle every day when riding the train back and forth to Manhattan. Blunt plays the character of Rachel extremely well, convincing audiences she is a far-gone alcoholic with distressed facial features at all times to expose her unhappiness in every aspect of her life.
Rachel comes to learn that the woman she had no idea she had any connection to, Megan, has more things in common with her than she originally thought. Again, every female in The Girl on the Train is intertwined so much that the movie evokes a soap opera-esque effect– especially because the two women whom Rachel are sort of stalking look remarkably similar to each other (both blonde, fair skinned and beautiful).
The film starts to feel dragged out, as if you are watching a bunch of separate scenes with little to no correlation. Eventually, Rachel creates a giant mess; one of the women goes missing and the stalker who rides the train into the city everyday and passes by her old house seems like the perfect suspect.
The film could have had a better outcome if the director had stitched the scenes together in a more coherent manner that actually explained the story better. Each actor did a superb job in their roles, especially Emily Blunt, despite the fact that some of them weren’t used as much as they should’ve been.
The location was an excellent choice as well because it felt enclosed and gave a new feel to the busy city that New York is usually shown to be. Instead, the film was set in the quiet, flat lands of the suburbs outside of the city.
Overall, “The Girl on the Train” is a see-it-once-but-never-see-it-again type of movie. With an overall runtime of 112 minutes, it felt excessively long and included many scenes that had the audience checking their phones along the way.