Film Review: The Girl on the Train


Frances Winston enjoyed The Girl On The Train, although it was a bit fragmented in places

Directed by: Tate Taylor – Starring: Emily Blunt, Rebecca Ferguson, Haley Bennett, Justin Theroux, Luke Evans, Allison Janney, Édgar Ramírez, Lisa Kudrow, Laura Prepon

Prior to this movie, I always imagined that Emily Blunt woke up every day looking like the English Rose she usually portrays on screen, with lightly flushed cheeks, rose tinted lips and perfectly coiffed glossy hair.

Therefore, I found it somewhat comforting to learn that even she can look rough and haggard, as she does for most of this film.

In fairness, her character is supposed to be a deeply disturbed chronic alcoholic, so her usual perfectly-groomed ladylike look wouldn’t really have been appropriate. I just wouldn’t have thought it was possible to ‘ugly her up’.

She plays Rachel Watson, as I said, a chronic alcoholic, who has been fired from her job, and spends her days riding the train, sipping from her cup of vodka. A messy divorce from Tom (Theroux) has left her an emotional wreck, and his current wife, Anna (Ferguson) laments what she sees as Rachel’s obsession with them and their baby.

On one of her train journeys, Rachel drunkenly spots the couple’s nanny, Megan (Bennett) with another man. But when Megan later disappears, Rachel finds herself being questioned about events she has little or no recollection of.

As I said, Blunt looks shambolic in this, and nearly seems to relish the lack of glamour. She is surprisingly unnerving as the permanently on-edge Rachel, yet you feel sympathy for her, as it is clear her problems are predominately emotional, and alcohol is just filling a void.

Mr Jennifer Aniston himself, Theroux, is actually surprisingly good here. He veers between sinister and loving, depending on which woman in his life he is dealing with, and you find yourself wondering what’s really going on in his head. In fact, there are no bad performances here, and the complexity of the characters means the actors have plenty to get their teeth into.

Much of the story is told by hopping back and forth through time. This technique doesn’t always work, but Taylor ensures that you clearly know where the scene fits in the chain of events, so there is no confusion. The time-hopping also gives you a sense of what must be going on in Rachel’s head, as she struggles to recall her drunken incidents. Honestly, this makes any drunken blackout you ever had look like nothing more than a sugar high!

This does get a bit repetitious at times. There are only so many train shots you can get away with, even when the premise of the story involves it, and some of the flashbacks are shown more than once, as if Taylor doesn’t trust the audience to have absorbed the information the first time.

That aside, The Girl On The Train is enjoyable, if a bit fragmented in places. Taylor does a good job of building tension, but sometimes leaves it hanging too long, and there are one or two tedious moments.

This film could have been far more suspenseful, but it is still a solid thriller that, if not quite leaving you on the edge of your seat, will definitely have you at least inching forward in your chair.

In Cinemas Now!

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The new LGBT magazine; available online, for download and on podcast. It's time for another view.
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