Review: The Girl on the Train

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Distributor: Universal Studios
Director: Tate Taylor
Writers: Erin Cressida Wilson
Composer: Danny Elfman
Cast: Emily Blunt, Rebecca Ferguson, Hayley Bennett, Justin Theroux, Luke Evans, Edgar Ramirez
Genre: Drama, Mystery & Suspense
Rating: R
Paula Hawkins novel has been highly praised over the pass year as it has made #1 on the New York Times Bestseller. Director Tate Taylor’s film adaption stays true to certain areas of the novel throughout the near two hour runtime, as the character development of  Rachel and Meghan (Hayley Bennett) are balanced out. It is safe to say that the film adapted their beginnings not only accurately, but in a way they’re not rushed or forced. Similar to how the book transitions to each viewpoint, so does the film as it keeps audiences on pare with both the characters and flashbacks.

 screen-shot-2016-10-14-at-4-16-22-pmContent Guide

Violent Content: Murder takes places towards the end of the film, particularly by head bashing and throat stabbing. Domestic abuse also plays a large factor between characters.
Language/Crude Humor: As read in the book, a large amount of profanity is used such as “s***” and “f***.” Certain dehumanizing words are thrown around such as b**** and w****.
Sexual Content: Strong sexual content is shown between characters, some being sexual abuse. Very graphic and is not suitable for families.
Drug/Alcohol Content: A large amount alcohol is consumed to the point of drunkenness and blackouts. These moments of inebriation also portray characters in violent stages both verbally and physically.
Spiritual Content: None.
Negative Content: Graphic sexual content, violent murder, domestic abuse, explicit language, and more. Again, this is not family friendly as viewers discretion is advised.
Positive Content: Characters towards the end find moments of redemption and clarity despite their past and current stages in life.

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Review

Based on the novel by Paula Hawkins, Rachel (Emily Blunt) is a alcoholic struggling after the affair and divorce from her husband Tom (Justin Theroux). While traveling to New York City and home by train, Rachel fantasizes about a couple whose house she passes by every day. When the wife reports to be missing, Rachel tries to put the pieces together only to realize she is involved in the actual case as a suspect.
Emily Blunt significantly shines as the struggling alcoholic who tries to get her life back together. Her portrayal of Rachel allows audiences to not only see her perspective, but the perspective of those that struggle with the abuse of alcohol, loneliness, and depression. Her portrayal became very convincing through her moments of drunkenness as her true emotions and feelings are violently expressed.
Right behind her is Haley Bennett’s portrayal of Meghan, as she too expresses her depression and her coping mechanism with sexual intercourse. Due to her character background and experiences, Haley greatly portrays the person that people are afraid of becoming: lonely as the good years slowly past by. Her coping mechanism with sexual intercourse strongly portrays just how real and affective one uses sex to escape from reality as if it were an abused drug.
Similar to the novel, the film has a balance of character development as the suspenseful story carries on. The more the mystery unravels, the more character emotions unravel, revealing the shallowness and dark sides of people. It comes to the point where this type of character development contributes greatly to the mystery toward end of the story and unraveling of the case. While it may feel as if the film is carrying on longer than it should, the pay off is certainly great.
While the film portrays a significant portion of the novel accurately, other key moments remained unseen regarding character backgrounds and portrayals. Both Meghan and Rachel have significant moments of their past with ex-lovers and siblings that contributed to their current state, as read in the novel. It was very unfortunate to never see these moments in the film, moments that are only noticeable to those who have completed the novel prior to the film’s release.

Conclusion

As the Oscar season begins to unfold, The Girl on the Train certainly stands out as a contender in the area of best film adaption and best female actor in a leading role. While the film and novel differentiate in certain moments for the book fans, it remains steadily on the tracks for audiences overall. With a dedicated cast and engaging story, The Girl on the Train will keep one pondering on connecting the dots after leaving the theater.

Positives

+ Strong Character Development + Consistent plot + Accurate adaption

Negatives

- Plot drags to an extent - Unseen novel based moments

The Bottom Line

The adaption of Paula Hawkins' novel remains very faithful in its film adaption, with the exception of a number of settings and connections. Suspenseful and mind blowing in the unraveling of the plot, despite the length.

 

8.6

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Trey Soto

Trey Soto holds a B.A. in Communication Studies from Biola University, emphasis in Interpersonal/Rhetorical Theory. He has been a Film Critic/Analysis for over a year at Geeks Under Grace and other websites such as Temple of Geek. In his spare time, he enjoys comic book literature, screenwriting, production assistant freelancing, photography, cosplay, and hosting his own film podcast T.V. Trey on Podbean and iTunes.

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