I admittedly do not read as often as I’d like to. My Amazon wish list is filled with books I’d like to read and my nightstand usually has a few I’m desperately working on finishing. Everything from comics to novels, I’ve fallen into the trap of watching good reads rather than enjoying the original story in written form. I tend to work backwards, I see a great show or movie, find out it was based on a book, then seek out said book to read for myself. So when I was asked to go see The Girl On The Train, I had no idea it was based on a bestselling novel. However, as the saying goes, now I know and knowing is half the battle.
The Girl On The Train is a psychological thriller in the body of a mystery that keeps you interested and guessing from the start. Told in a first person narrative, we are first introduced to Rachel, played by Emily Blunt, on the commuter train to Manhattan. She talks about her routine and how she stares out the window dreaming up her own stories of the lives of the people she sees. One couple in particular captures her attention as she sees them as being madly in love and what would be described as the perfect couple. However, we learn that is more about her own personal struggles with her recent divorce and less about the couple themselves as we soon find out they are far from perfect and the woman, Megan, is struggling with some serious personal demons. Not to mention, unbeknownst to Rachel, Megan is currently the nanny for her ex-husband’s new wife and baby. Ah yes, the plot thickens.
It thickens even more after Rachel sees Megan kissing another man and decides to confront her about it in a drunken stupor. Blackout drunk, Rachel wakes up the next day bloody and bruised, with no memory of what happened. To make matters worse, Megan turns up missing. This is when things really start to get interesting. Affairs, lies, babies, secrets, missing people, murder, blackout drunk fits of rage…the story does a great job of giving you just enough information to keep up without fully revealing the truth until the final act.
After seeing the movie and talking to some friends who have read the book, it does not stray far from the source material. Of course, you can expect the book to delve more into the characters, showing you more of the sinister side of Tom, Rachel’s ex played by the sexy Justin Theroux, as well as touching more on the crazy that is Anna, Tom’s former mistress turned new wife and mother of his child. Her strange and at times overly dramatic behavior makes you question her involvement in Megan’s demise. Then again, Rachel’s nonexistent memory and bloody morning after makes you wonder about her involvement as well. Throw in Megan’s overprotective, aggressive, and jealous husband and you have the ingredients of a great mystery with plenty of suspects to keep you wondering what happened until the very end.
If you haven’t picked up on it already, I’m trying to tell you that this is an excellent film without revealing too much because that is absolutely one of the reasons why it is so good. I believe that if you read the book, you will not be disappointed by the film adaption and if you haven’t read the book, you have the advantage of not knowing what is going to happen and going along for the ride as the truth is slowly revealed to you. I had no idea what I was going to see, just the general knowledge that some lady is on a train and obsessing over a couple she sees daily.
That did not prepare me for the very well written and well shot film I had the pleasure of seeing. While there is so much more to it than that, that simple summary is at the heart of this film and takes something as innocent as staring out into the world around you during your daily commute to work and turning it into a plot filled with just enough suspense and mystery to keep you engaged and entertained. Going out to the movies nowadays can be a hit or miss affair. Paying $12 to see something that looks great in a 30 second preview but turns out to be a 90 minute dud or even seeing your favorite book torn apart by what Hollywood thinks will sell rather than sticking to the source, can put a damper on movie night. However, this is a film that will appeal to men and women alike and will not have you leaving the theater thinking you were robbed. This was genuinely a really good flick and worth leaving the house to go see it before it’s too late and you’re saturated by social media spoilers.
The Girl On The Train is now playing everywhere.