Movie Review: The Girl on the Train

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mv5bmjewndu4ntqwml5bml5banbnxkftztgwmzq2mjiwmdi-_v1_sx214_al_-1Directed by Tate Taylor, “The Girl on the Train” draws the inevitable comparison with David Fincher’sGone Girl.”  The 2014 psychological thriller is deliriously diabolical.  Meticulously constructed, layered with intricacy and laced with dread and wit.

Adapted from Paula Hawkins’ sensational novel of the same name, “The Girl on the Train,” is a story about three women – Rachel (Emily Blunt; “The Huntsman: Winter’s War,” “Edge of Tomorrow,” “The Adjustment Bureau“), Anna (Rebecca Ferguson, “Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation“) and Megan (Haley Bennett) – and how their lives are entwined by obsession, loss, lies, betrayal and despair.  One did not survive and her demise becomes the central murder mystery of the movie.

Rachel is a depressed and drunken divorcee.  Every day she leaves her rented room and boards a train, presumably to her job in New York City.  The train’s route passes through rows of big, beautiful houses in the grassy suburb.  One of the houses is her former home, where her ex-husband, Tom (Justin Theroux) now lives with his new wife and former mistress, Anna, and their baby girl.  Before her divorce, Rachel and Tom tried to have a baby on their own and failed.  For Rachel, it’s crushing to see glimpses of their lives each day.

Rachel also notices a comely couple that lives a couple houses down the street, Megan and Scott (Luke Evans, “Immortal“).  They either aren’t aware or don’t care that their passionate moments can be clearly seen from the train’s windows.  Rachel imagines that they have a perfect life.  Megan is everything that she wants to be.

One day, the infallible image is shattered when Rachel witnesses Megan in the arms of another man on the deck.  Little did she know that the blond beauty had a dark past, which led to that moment on the deck.  Blinded with rage, she disembarks the train to confront her.  There’s only one problem.  Rachel is sozzled and soon after she’s off the train, she blacks out.

Rachel wakes up bruised and bloodied, not knowing what she was doing during the missing hours.  She just knows something bad happened. This is not the first time she had blacked out.  Her ex-husband used to fill her in, letting her know the things she did when she was drunk and before passing out.  They’re not pretty; one of the main reasons of their divorce.

A detective (Allison Janney) follows Rachel’s trail and questions her.  People came forward and said that they saw Rachel in the vicinity during the time of Megan’s disappearance and death.  She also makes matters worse by reaching out to the husband and having a track record of stalking her ex-husband and his new wife.  But she’s not the only suspect. The husband and Megan’s therapist (Edgar Ramirez) are also thrown into the spotlight.

Revelations come out through repressed memories.  Rachel realizes that things are not what they appear to be and she put the two and two together.  Unfortunately, a crucial key to the mystery relies solely on a coincidental encounter.  And the timelines are all over the map.  Flashbacks and time jumps can be great when they are used effectively, but here they are disorienting.  The pacing is off the rails.

Blunt keeps the bleak movie rumbling through her acting, on the mark as a wrecked spirit.  Although it’s one too many close-ups of her glazed eyes, tear-streaked face, slurred voice and haunting expressions.

The whodunit mystery is not only solved in the end, but the story also wrapped up wholly.  It feels like the road to get there should be more suspenseful and destination less neat.

“The Girl on the Train” has its moments, but it falls short of its twisty aspirations.

Copyright (c) 2016.  Nathalia Aryani.

Nathalia Aryani is a film columnist and has a movie blog, The MovieMaven ( Twitter: @the_moviemaven. She can be reached at


Nathalia Aryani is a Rotten Tomatoes-approved film critic ( She has a movie blog, The MovieMaven ( Twitter: @the_moviemaven. She can be reached at [email protected].

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