PLOT - Rachel Watson is a divorced alcoholic, who pretends to go to work every day on the train, to keep hidden from her roommate that she has lost her job. The train route passes by Rachel's former home, where her husband, Tom, lives with his new wife, Anna, and their baby. Rachel is still in love with Tom, but during her train trips she begins to fantasize about Tom's neighbors, a seemingly perfect young couple who have recently move into the neighborhood. She catches glimpses of them as the train rushes by their home. When the wife, Megan Hipwell, goes missing, Rachel believes that she might have clues to help solve the case. She may have been the last person who saw Megan alive, but on the same day, Rachel blacked out from drinking, making her witness account completely unreliable. Does Rachel hold the key to Megan's disappearance? Will anyone believe her?
LIKE- I enjoyed Paula Hawkins novel and I was excited to see the film adaptation. Naturally, as with any film adaptation, parts of the book were left out, however nothing significant enough to detract from the film and certainly nothing that would leave anyone who hasn't read the book, clueless.
The best part of the adaptation is the cast. Emily Blunt is not at all who I imagined for Rachel, but she is excellent in the role. I read an interview where she said she just felt completely unattractive playing Rachel, who is an alcoholic. Blunt is so gorgeous normally and she looks completely transformed in this role. Blunt does not carry the film alone, it is also told from the perspectives of Megan (Haley Bennett) and Anna (Rebecca Ferguson), both fabulous. I found the adaptation to be a more equal story of all three women, where as the book, was more rooted in Rachel's world. This also meant less of an emphasis on Rachel's blacking out and being an unreliable narrator. The film was less convoluted and more predictable than the novel, but this was okay. It was okay, because I found the film to have a greater emphasis on the emotional content that links these women.
DISLIKE- An aspect of the novel that was minimized, was the relationship that Rachel has with her roommate, Cathy (Laura Prepon). In the novel, Rachel is very deceitful to Cathy, which ups the stakes of Rachel almost loosing both a friend and roommate. In the novel, we learn that Cathy is basically the last friend that has stood by Cathy. The novel shows Rachel contacting and meeting with her ex-husband, Tom ( Justin Theroux), as she is falling apart. Tom hides these meetings from his wife and Rachel tries to hide them from Cathy, although in her drunk and depressed frame of mind, the truth often spills out. This was eliminated in the film. These two cuts lessened the stakes for Rachel and also dropped some of the intensity of the novel. Prepon and Theroux are great actors, I'd have loved it if they had more screen time. Their parts are both minimal. I suspect, there is a longer director's cut out there with these scenes.
Why did they bother changing the location of the story? In the novel, it's set in the UK, and in the movie, America. It didn't dramatically alter key elements of the story, so I'm guessing it had to do with the logistics of making the adaptation.
RECOMMEND - Yes. The Girl on the Train is a decent thriller with an emotional core. Be warned that it's violent and a very dark film. This isn't one to rush out to see in theaters, but definitely worth a watch as a rental.