October 18, 2016
By Tiffany Skelnik
“The Girl on the Train” is a psychological thriller directed by Tate Taylor. It is a film based on the bestselling book of the same name, written by Paula Hawkins. The film stars Emily Blunt as Rachel, a commuter with a troubled past who finds herself entangled in a missing person’s case, and the lives of the two women whom she watches on her daily train rides. The three female stars in the cast, Blunt, Haley Bennett and Rebecca Ferguson, shine in their roles and bring complexity to the three ladies whose lives collide along the train route.
Strong performances are present throughout the film. Blunt’s portrayal of Rachel is stellar as she both infuriates and elicits sympathy from those around her. Her pain is palpable as she struggles to get her life together, keep it together and figure out what happened on that train route.
Rebecca Ferguson plays Anna, the employer of the missing woman, as well as the wife of Rachel’s ex. She provides a portrayal that balances Blunt’s troubled character. It is through Anna that viewers get a sense of just how far Rachel has fallen. In Ferguson’s performance, viewers can see a perfect life slowly shattering and the strength it takes to try to keep it from exploding.
Haley Bennet as Megan, the woman whose disappearance jumpstarts the events, gives the film its mystery in more than just the disappearance. In her performance, Bennett demonstrates that Megan has troubles of her own and does an excellent job in making us care about her.
All three of these actresses do a wonderful job in showing that there is more than one layer to these women.
The film itself is a hit and miss. This is due in part to the director’s choice of structure. The use of flashbacks suits what the story is trying to accomplish, but the placement and overuse of flashbacks fails to keep the film engaging throughout. The film is at its best when present events are at the center and the characters are attempting to solve the puzzle put before them. The story seems to get lost in demonstrating its own filmmaking prowess.
“The Girl on the Train” is a film that provides entertainment and mystery, but it is not a film for every viewer. If you enjoy psychological thrillers or Lifetime Movies, then you’ll definitely enjoy this film.