DVD Review - The Girl on the Train

Emily Blunt stars as Rachel Watson, a woman who lives somewhere in Westchester County but who commutes by railroad into Manhattan everyday. She obsesses over a woman who lives in a very nice suburban home near the train tracks along the Hudson River about a hour north of the city. Everyday, Rachel sees the house and the woman occasionally. She imagines what the woman's life must be like. It's revealed that Rachel is an alcoholic, or else she has a serious drinking problem and is mostly drunk on the train. If that's so, it becomes a question of what does she do all day and how is she able to work.

Haley Bennett (The Magnificent Seven and Marley & Me) co-stars as Megan Hipwell, the woman whom Rachel sees from the train and whom becomes the object of Rachel's obsession. The movie switches perspectives and starts to tell Megan's story from Megan's point-of-view. She's in therapy. She talks about how she's frustrated with her life. She doesn't like her job as a nanny for a wealthy couple that lives a few doors down, mainly because she doesn't want a baby due to some incidents in her past. She's married but she feels like her husband is too controlling.

Rebecca Ferguson (Florence Foster Jenkins and Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation) also co-stars as Anna Boyd, the woman who is half of the couple that lives a few doors down from Megan. She's wealthy or rather her husband is wealthy enough that she doesn't have to work, yet she does a lot of volunteering that keeps her busy. She did work as a realtor but gave it up to be a wife and mother. She loves her child, but she isn't happy when Megan all-of-a-sudden announces that she's quitting as the nanny.

The movie bounces back-and-forth between the perspectives of the three women. The plot kicks off when Megan goes missing and Rachel becomes a possible suspect in what later becomes a murder investigation. Anna is tangentially related, but the bulk of the movie is Rachel playing detective and involving herself in very inappropriate ways. Based on a novel by Paula Hawkins, the movie also makes Rachel somewhat of an unreliable narrator because her grief and her drinking have really affected her memories. The movie as the book takes that to ridiculous lengths, which is meant to cast doubt on Rachel needlessly.

Directed by Tate Taylor (The Help and Get On Up), the movie is obviously going to end with Rachel proving her innocence or finding the true guilty party. The only surprise would have been if she really were the culprit. It makes one wonder if the mystery is really that much of a concern. Maybe the movie is more about giving these three, female actors a vehicle to display their acting, particularly Blunt who is the tortured alcoholic and Bennett who is the loony, sex kitten.

As much focus as there is on the women, there's still something elusive and missing about them. What is also revealed is that all three women are linked because of one man. Justin Theroux (The Leftovers and Six Feet Under) plays Tom. Yet, the movie never shows us why the link is as strong as it is for all three. Theroux is a sexy guy who can be quite charming, but not enough of that translates here that would make anyone believe all three women would be as crazy as literally each gets over him.

It ends up making all the women seem unhinged or weak. They all literally go nuts for this one guy and the movie never convinces as to what the spark or the glue is for these women to this man.

Rated R for violence, sexual content, language and nudity.
Running Time: 1 hr. and 52 mins.


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