‘The Girl on the Train” may be an excellent date-night movie. With a superb leading lady in Emily Blunt, an engrossing mystery at its center with some steaminess to it, “The Girl on the Train” is an engrossing romp you should give a shot.
Emily Blunt, who portrays alcoholic train wreck (pun certainly intended) Rachel so engrossingly that even if you don’t care for any other part of the film, you will want to know at least how her plot line unfolds. You can’t help root for her humanity and her own psychological struggles she grapples with, despite her being a person who hit rock bottom and somehow still managed to dig a little more out of the trench.
Suffering severe depression from her divorce from years back, Rachel self-medicates to incoherence and blackouts as she rides a train every day to watch her ex-husband’s (Justin Theroux) new wife (Rebecca Ferguson) and their baby. She also covets their nearby neighbors — Megan (Haley Bennett) and Scott (Luke Evans) — a married couple who appear to have the perfect life she so desires. Rachel is the kind of person you would normally hate if you saw it from any perspective other than hers.
She drinks throughout the day, pretends to be employed while living with her roommate, calls and texts her ex-husband’s phone incessantly and harasses his new family through the phone.
Rachel’s problems extrapolate when she sees Megan kissing another man on her balcony. Reminding her of the betrayal her husband committed against her, Rachel chases after Megan down a tunnel one night in a drunken rage. She wakes up the next morning in her roommate’s apartment to find dirt and blood all over her, and discovers that Megan is missing.
Blunt’s Rachel is a lead you will really get involved in — the humanity she portrays as Rachel, and the suffering she unintentionally causes herself and others by, ironically, trying to quell the pain of said suffering with her water bottle full of vodka. It is heartbreaking to watch, especially as the movie unfolds and every single layer of Rachel’s character is revealed. Blunt deserves at least an Oscar nod here.
Haley Bennett stars as the second leading lady, and in her second big movie of the year after “The Magnificent Seven,” in which she was also excellent. She and her husband, Scott (Luke Evans), are the eye candy of the movie, both contributing to several scenes in various states of undress and adult situations.
It’s implied that their physically appealing traits only help contribute to Rachel’s idea of them appearing to have the perfect life from only the view on the train she rides to New York every day, adding an interesting depth and a commentary on our own prejudices and judgments based on physical and outside appearance, rather than seeking truth.
But as the story unfolds, and Megan goes missing, we find out her near-perfect relationship with her husband is not what it seems from outside her window. When the perspective shifts from Rachel to Megan, the audience is shown a mess of a human being, albeit in a different way than Rachel. Megan is hypersexual, selfish, somewhat detached and probably manipulative. But just as with Blunt’s Rachel, there are layers to Bennett’s Megan that unfold throughout the film, and she too becomes a fascinating character for the audience, and Bennett proves that her character is more than just a selfish mess with good looks.
The third woman is Rebecca Ferguson’s Anna, who had an affair with Rachel’s ex-husband and caused him to leave Rachel for her and started the family Rachel was unable to have. Anna, although likable enough in personality, seems to be the initial object for the audience to dislike, despite Rachel’s unending harassment of her, as Anna is portrayed as the home wrecker who got everything Rachel deserved before the latter started drinking.
Ferguson is very good here too, rounding out an excellent trio of leading ladies. She’s not the most standout character in the movie, but that is just because Blunt and Bennett are so good at their roles.
There have been some really mixed reviews for “The Girl on the Train,” however, this review is a solid recommendation to lovers of thrillers. There are great performances, a few steamy scenes and the plot is interesting enough that you will be plugged into the movie even if you figure out the whodunit halfway through . If you enjoyed the pulpy crime-thriller feel of “Gone Girl” — which is still the superior movie here — “The Girl on the Train” is right up your alley. It is a tasty morsel of the same kind of entertainment, which may give you your fix for an intriguing thriller until the next from-book-to-screen thriller comes along.
“The Girl on the Train” is currently playing at the Riverside Cinemas, 1017 S. Boone St. in Aberdeen.
George Haerle is a 2008 graduate of Aberdeen High and holds a bachelor’s degree in creative writing for media and lives in Cosmopolis.