Film Review: The Girl on the Train


*WARNING* May contain spoilers.

‘The Girl on the Train’ is the latest fast paced crime thriller on the big screen. The film adaption of Paul Hawkins best selling novel begins with Rachel (Emily Blunt), an alcoholic shell of her former self, peering out of a train window into the lives of two suburban couples.

She obsesses over her own fall from grace by perceiving one of the couples as ‘the embodiment of happiness’. We learn through her voyeuristic naivety that she is ignorant of what happens behind closed doors. Throughout the movie we gain a glimpse into the seemingly perfect Megan’s life showing the audience her dissatisfaction with her husband and how this is influenced by her haunted past.

The film continually deals with the themes of motherhood, and a sense of Blunt’s character grasping onto the archetypal social construct of what defines femininity:  a family, the perfect house and relationship.  In this sense Rachel also compares herself to her ex-husbands new wife- Anna, who lives two doors down from Megan- who she believes encompasses all she has lost.

Emily blunt plays our unreliable narrator Rachel convincingly, with a gritty desperation that has us believing she may indeed be capable of anything from fits of violence to drunken blackouts. We learn that the three women we see through windows at the beginning of the film are not all strangers but that their lives are actually finely intertwined by tragedy, betrayal and destruction. The film later turns into a ‘who-done-it’ witch hunt after one of the women goes missing. The audience’s sympathies shift through a series of flashback as you chronologically learn more about each characters backstory (which at times can get a little confusing). Reminiscent of David Finchers ‘Gone Girl’ – ‘The Girl On the Train’ uses these flashbacks to slowly reveal the truth of this intangible murder mystery which keeps viewers guessing.

Overall this film is gripping and enjoyable.  The film personifies the statement ‘not all that glitters is gold’; ultimately,  voyeuristic fantasies are never a true representation of reality.

Johanna Crighton

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