The Girl on the Train (2016)

I cannot overstate how excited I was for this film. In fact, if you follow my Facebook page, you know that it was the very first Stoplight Spotlight, the one film I’m most excited to see in a certain month.

I read the bestselling novel by Paula Hawkins, and I liked it well enough. It didn’t quite live up to the hype, but that was fine. When I heard that the film was going to star Emily Blunt (The Devil Wears Prada) and Rebecca Ferguson (Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation), though, I was sold. Like, I wasn’t going to miss it.

The Girl on the Train is the story of Rachel Watson, currently a divorced alcoholic who spends her alimony payments on train tickets from Manhattan (London in the book). One of the stops is nearby her ex-husband, his wife and child, and a perfect couple a few doors down. So, naturally, Rachel becomes addicted to watching their happiness.

When she sees the girl from the perfect couple having an affair, though, her life soon falls out of hand. That girl, Megan Hipwell, goes missing, and Rachel can’t remember what happened that night. When Megan turns up dead, Rachel’s memory—and honesty—are more important than ever.

The film was directed by Tate Taylor, and expertly so. As with The Help, Taylor managed to get some really raw performances out of these actors, including magnificent turns from the leading females of the picture. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen Blunt this good, and I swear that Haley Bennett (The Magnificent Seven) is going to be huge. The men are fine, as well, but they were never the stars of this picture.

It does have a glaring problem, though, one which many viewers might be willing to forgive. When the big twist comes around, I couldn’t think of a single time when I’d seen it coming. And not in the good way, where you can go back and see that it was actually there all along. The twist here makes sense, but it changes one of the characters in a way that does not.

Thankfully, once you get over that, the film doesn’t go too far off the rails (there’s your train pun). It’s just that maybe I shouldn’t have been so excited, like when I read the book. You shouldn’t run to catch this, is all I’m saying. If you find it waiting for you, though, you won’t regret hopping on.

3 Green

The Girl on the Train is in theaters now.

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