Paula Hawkins’ novel The Girl on the Train topped all of the literary charts last year but newly adapted film is unlikely to do as well. And while the much anticipated film will certainly attract those who enjoy calling women ‘girl’s and aren’t too concerned with obvious plots others will not waste their pennies on the lukewarm adaptation.
Rachel (Emily Blunt) is a sad, lonely and alcoholic women who rides the trains to catch glimpses into a past she still yearns for. She stares through the window of the train, her gaze bleary with alcohol, and into the windows of the neighbourhood she once lived in. Her ex, Tom (Justin Theroux) still lives in the home they created together with his new wife Anna (Rebecca Ferguson) and their baby girl. They are living the life Rachel once wanted but since she failed to fall pregnant that dream became impossible and he cheated on her.
But Rachel is even more obsessed with the beautiful couple who live a few doors down, Scott (Luke Evans) and Megan (Haley Bennett). They seem to lead a charmed life, one Rachel imagines and longs for. She fantasizes about them until one day she witnesses a shocking event which seemingly catapults Rachel into action.
The idea of the plot looks promising but everything is too obvious and one feels as if everything is overly explained. The sifting points of view and flashbacks attempt to trip the viewer up but never quite succeeds.
And while it is beautifully filmed there are bigger issues in The Girl on the Train you simply can’t avoid: the way women are portrayed is utterly misogynistic. Women go insane if they can’t have babies, women who do have babies can’t look after them on their own, woman can’t cope without men and tend to drink, women are men’s playthings, easily disposed of and replaced and really only good for sex, women don’t like each other and treat each other badly, women can’t act on their own but only react to what men do.
So while Blunt does do her best with the role she has been given, she really isn’t given much scope. So overall if you’re a fan of the book stick to the paper version and stay away from a film.