Review: The Girl on the Train (2016)

Rachel has an overactive imagination: she gazes through the train window and observes other people’s lives. Not only does she see them, but she also creates stories in her mind about them and imagines how their lives are. She is the girl on the train about whom the title of the movie talks. That, per se, wouldn’t be such an interesting story, since it’s common to look at the same place if you pass by every day in your commute. What makes The Girl on the Train different, however, is how Rachel (Emily Blunt) crosses the line between just looking and actually obsessing with the people being watched.

She starts obsessing with a couple who, as far as she is concerned, has the perfect marriage, and lives a few houses away from where she used to live with her ex-husband Tom (Justin Theroux). One day, however, she sees the woman who she admires – who turns out to be named Megan (Haley Bennett) – kissing someone else. That’s enough to trigger her rage and makes her leave the train to go and talk to this woman, who disappears on that day. Rachel, then, tries to help Megan’s husband (Luke Evans) to find out what happened. Oh, and Rachel is an alcoholic, which makes her “unreliable.”

As a fan of the book on which the movie is based, I was really anxious to see it and I was not disappointed: the film is very faithful to the novel, even in the form of narration (the three main characters take turn in telling us the story from their points of view). Comparisons to Gone Girl are unavoidable, but The Girl on the Train stands on its own.

The cast is extremely good, especially Emily Blunt, who is able to play an alcoholic without portraying the cliché image of a drunk that we usually see in movies. Not only that, she is capable of keeping Rachel unreliable to the viewers, which was the main point: is she guilty or innocent? Does she have anything to do with Megan’s disappearance at all? A feature that also helped Emily Blunt’s performance was the makeup – or lack thereof. We can see a different skin tone, as well as bags under eyes and messy hair.

What draws me more to this movie is precisely the fact that it explores our curiosity about other people’s lives. It’s not the first time we’ve seen it in films (Rear Window is a great example of that voyeurism), and it probably won’t be the last. Especially in today’s world, where social media makes us more and more interested in other people’s lives – regardless of whether what we imagine of their lives is true or not. On Rachel’s case, of course, it became an obsession and she was basically a stalker instead of a mere observer.

Long story short, it is a very interesting and intriguing movie, in which you keep trying to find out what really happened on the night that Megan disappeared, but you don’t fully trust Rachel’s version of the fact. The score by Danny Elfman, one of my favorite composers, completes the dark tone of the film and makes it even more thrilling.

Here are some photos of the red carpet premiere in NY!

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Carolina

Brazilian lawyer that has more passion for movies, theater and music than for the law.

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