‘The Girl on the Train’ (2016) Review

girl on the train pic


Director: Tate Taylor

Starring: Emily Blunt, Haley Bennett, Rebecca Ferguson, Justin Theroux, Luke Evans

Genre: Thriller


Having read Paula Hawkins book that this film is based on, I just had to see how the film compared. The book was so gripping and full of suspense- I thoroughly enjoyed it and would recommend it to anyone. So of course, I had to see whether or not the film matched up to my expectations. What’s good about this film is that you see how three different characters stories play out, between Rachel (Emily Blunt), Megan (Haley Bennett), and Anna (Rebecca Ferguson). The jump between each is not too confusing and it paints a picture of how these women’s lives entwine together.

The story mainly follows the protagonist Rachel and the film begins as she sits on her train journey.  On her route she regularly sees a young blonde woman who lives in a house by the tracks. Rachel starts to believe that this woman has a better life than she has- the ‘perfect life’. Rachel becomes involved from a distance, wishing to know more about this unknown woman. However nothing is as perfect as it seems. It’s not until this young woman is later reported missing that this seemingly perfect life is shattered. The main female lead, Emily Blunt (Edge of Tomorrow, The Young Victoria) plays the damaged Rachel who is struggling with life after her failed marriage. As the film proceeds, you become gradually more and more worried about her as it is revealed that she drinks too much alcohol, cannot let go of her ex-husband, and is becoming increasingly obsessed with this woman she sees from the train.

Twenty minutes in we already know at this point that Rachel is an alcoholic, and her behaviour drastically changes in one alcohol-fueled bathroom scene. Rachel displays her bitterness over her ex-husband’s new partner- how she hates her and she describes what she’d like to do to her. After watching that scene you can’t help but feel quite concerned over this characters state of mind. She’s heavily intoxicated, angry, and unstable and it doesn’t portray our main character as good as we thought she would be. Fast forward another ten minutes and already at thirty minutes in we are unsure about our protagonist, Rachel. She starts to run the line between concerned person and a suspicious one when she becomes involved in the missing person case. It’s unsettling as she starts to become too involved in a situation that seems to have nothing to do with her at all. As a viewer I was left bewildered at what extent she would go to in order to get her answers.

This film definitely throws around a few suspects of who could be responsible. In one way we as a viewer are left to following Rachel in her quest for answers, all the while quite suspicious of her as well. Her actions do not put her in a good light at all. This film leaves you guessing and guessing right until the last moment. Emily Blunt’s unwavering determination is what drives this film, as we as an audience join her in her desperation to find out what is going on and who is the person to blame.


“…haven’t you ever been on a train and wondered about the lives of the people who live near the tracks? The lives you’ve never lived.”- Rachel


Overall, this is still a decent thriller film to watch. If only to hang on until the end just to find out who did it. The thrill of the chase and my guesswork at ‘playing detective’ is what kept me watching. This film is another presentation of how difficult it is to end a thriller film well. Once the chase is over and antagonists are revealed, everything ends so quickly. A let down really to the good chase we have enjoyed throughout. It’s the amazing middle section of the film that holds your interest, where the anti-climactic ending is a real let down. While the thrill of the chase is what keeps this film going, the ending leaves a lot to be desired.  In my opinion, after the great reveal, the film immediately falls flat. While the book captivated me completely, this film did not.


Rating: 6/10

Best bit: The thrill of the chase. A lot of potential suspects- it could be anyone.

Worst bit: Disappointing ending.

Take note: Maybe this story was best left in book form.








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