The Girl on the Train

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This movie sooooo wanted to be Gone Girl. Unfortunately, director Tate Taylor (The Help, Get on Up) gave us a movie that felt like a soap opera mixed with an episode of Law & Order.

This is an adaptation of the Paula Hawkin’s bestseller. Screenwriter Erin Cressida Wilson wrote the interesting Secretary, but also the disappointing Chloe and horrible Jason Reitman movie Men, Women & Children.

We meet Rachel Watson (Emily Blunt) as she rides a train, drunk…staring at the houses and wondering about the people living in those homes. During the rides on the New York Metro, she seems to always notice things. Her ex-husband Tom (Justin Theroux) and the new bride (Rebecca Ferguson), who he was having an affair with while married to her. She notices Megan and her abusive husband Tom (Luke Evans), and sometimes she sees Megan’s (Haley Bennett) hunky shrink (Edgar Ramirez), who apparently makes house calls. He’s named “Dr. Abdic” which is going to be my new porn name.

Yeah, there are a lot of contrivances in this. There are also a lot of unrealistic scenarios.

It’s strange, you often hear older actresses complain that there aren’t any good parts for women their age. Movies like this show that…there aren’t always good parts for younger actresses, either. In this, the various women play one-dimensional characters. One is a drunk, one is a slut, and one is a nutty housewife. Even Blunt’s performance looks like she’s “acting” and not the least bit authentic.

My girlfriend assures me the book was great (and agreed the movie wasn’t). In this, we listen to various characters’ points of view in scenes that feel like performances in an acting class. There’s a monologue at a therapy session (which really makes us hate the character, the way she continues to come on to Dr. Abdic). There’s the usual scene we get with an alcoholic — at an AA meeting. For some reason, you never once root for the main protagonist. You just get annoyed by her various antics and facial expressions.

Instead of exposition, the director should’ve let the actors act. Let the audience figure out the emotions they’re going through, instead of them stating it outright.

My girlfriend also informs me that, just like how Bridget Jones was supposed to be pudgy, so was Rachel. So…why didn’t Emily Blunt gain weight or look a bit more unseemly?

Another frustrating thing about this film is the unrealistic behavior of everyone. Actress Allison Janney, always welcome on screen, plays a cop that has weird ways of questioning people. Nobody lawyers up. Nobody is read their rights. And one character, after something is told to the detective, ends up becoming a prime suspect. Uh…he is the husband. He would’ve been the prime suspect in the beginning, before anybody said anything to a detective.

When Dr. Abdic (sorry, I love saying it) gets brought in for questioning, it makes little sense. He’s her shrink. He could’ve simply answered some questions at his office, without all the drama.

Another time, an angry character breaks into a house just to shout at someone when they arrive home. Uh…wouldn’t that person be arrested for breaking-and-entering? Oh, but they’re angry they were looked at as a suspect, so I guess that makes it justified.

So, a few of the characters look a little like Rosamund Pike in Gone Girl. The musical score Danny Elfman provides reminds us a bit of it, too. Although the title has “Girl” in it, this movie is no Gone Girl.

The movie poster rocks, but that’s about it. The movie totally derailed.

It gets 1 star out of 5.