“The Girl on the Train” novel outshines the film

By Karlee Henry – 1851 Staff

At its October 7 premiere, “The Girl on the Train” was thought to be the next “Gone Girl,” but fans of the latter film and the novel of the same name could be in for disappointment. Unfortunately, the film is certainly no “Gone Girl,” but Emily Blunt’s compelling performance of Rachel Watson keeps this train on the tracks.

“The Girl on the Train” is based on the best-selling novel of the same name by Paula Hawkins. Watson, the main character, is a divorcee who is coping with the change in her life by turning to an excessive amount of alcohol. Everyday as she rides the train she passes her old house, where her ex-husband lives with his new wife and child. Instead of watching her old house, she begins to watch the house next door and becomes infatuated with this “fantasy” couple, Megan (Haley Bennett) and Scott Hipwell (Luke Evans).

Watson begins to create an imaginary picture-perfect life for them in her head. How- ever, Watson’s dreams begin crashing down when she finds out that Megan is not what she had seemed and has also gone missing. Rachel becomes fixated on finding out the truth about what happened, especially since she blacked out the same night Megan disappeared.

Director Tate Taylor’s flip flop between characters doesn’t create the proper tension and suspense the plot needs. Taylor ultimately portrays the three women as helpless and dependent on men, when in fact the novel is ultimately about women standing up for them- selves and fighting for their own identities.

The novel does a brilliant job keeping the reader guessing about what happened to Watson until the last few chapters, whereas the film is much more predictable. The film is certainly not five stars but there’s enough in it to appreciate the mystery and strong performances.

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