I’m guessing that “The Girl on the Train” read better as a novel than it played out on screen, because otherwise I really don’t get its appeal.
Based on the 2015 book by Erin Cressida Wilson, “The Girl on the Train” stars Emily Blunt as Rachel Watson, an alcoholic, obsessive stalker. And she’s the heroine of the story.
Rachel rides the train into New York City every day to work. As she sits there day after day she fantasizes about the lives of the beautiful people who live in the beautiful houses just beyond the tracks.
She’s particularly attracted to Scott and Megan Hipwell (Luke Evans and Haley Bennett), who appear to have the perfect life. It’s not particularly perfect for Megan, who is seeing a psychiatrist (Edgar Ramirez) to deal with her multitude of issues.
We soon learn that Rachel used to live in one of those beautiful houses, with her husband Tom (Justin Theroux). The couple have long since divorced and Tom still lives in their beautiful home, but now with second wife Anna (Rebecca Ferguson) and their infant daughter.
When Megan goes missing, Rachel hops off the train to do some sleuthing. Three or four jumps back and forth in time along with a half-dozen or so plot twists, and the movie finally, mercifully, ends.
“The Girl on the Train” is filled with unlikable people doing despicable things. They cheat, they drink to excess, they’re abusive, they whine, they cheat some more. There’s no one in this story to care about. And yes, I realize that an absurd twist is supposed to change the way I feel about the central character but it’s just too little, too late. I also found it ridiculous how a totally chance encounter with an ex-boss’ wife serves to upend the whole plot. The dreary look and feel of the film doesn’t help.
Mind the gap and stay away from ‘The Girl on the Train.’