Posted in Adaptations, Reviews

Adaptation Review: The Girl on the Train

The Girl on the Train is about an alcoholic woman who witnesses something out of the window of a train and finds herself entangled in a mysterious web of lies and deceit, not exactly unwillingly. It’s based on a supposed best-selling novel but if you saw my post about my Most Disappointing Books of 2016, you’ll know that I didn’t really think much of the book. I wasn’t really planning on watching this movie after I missed it in the theaters but then I saw Luke Evans in Beauty and the Beast and I just had to see more of his work. So that was basically my sole reason for watching this movie haha.

I must say that I enjoyed the movie a lot more than I did the book. I think it’s a story that is really just better told on the big screen rather than in words. In the book, I thought the characters were incredibly irritating. They were basically suburbian white people bored with their lives so they made tons of bad decisions just to make their lives a little bit more interesting. This was the impression I got from the book. Although the movie stayed very true to the book, they were somehow able to evoke a lot more sympathy from me for the characters. Not too much because I still thought they were suffering from a case of White People Problems, but enough that I was at least able to understand where they were coming from and why they were acting the way they were. This was especially true for the main character of Rachel. I don’t know if it’s Emily Blunt’s superb acting or my own experiences with cheating that has brought me a new perspective on the story, but I definitely appreciated the character of Rachel a lot more. I could understand her motivations and where she was coming from and why she was so obsessed with the couple she was watching from the train. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that she was relatable, but I definitely sympathized with her a lot more in the movie than I did in the book.

Reviews of the book have compared it to Gone Girl and that has always baffled me because it is nothing like Gone Girl. The plot twist at the end was pretty average and not as mindblowing as people make it out to be. However, if you compare the movie to Gone Girl, I can definitely see where you’re coming from. The tone is pretty much the same, interweaving images of the perfect American neighborhood with the dark and downright twisted musings of our characters. There’s always this quiet air of suspense throughout the movie where you’re expecting a physical jump scare like BOO! but in the end, what you get is a mental scare that quietly creeps up on you. Makes for good entertainment, I must admit, and this quiet, dark tone is much better captured on screen than in the book.

Overall, I thought the movie was a pretty good adaptation, one of those which stay loyal to the book yet somehow tell the story better. Those are the best kinds. I really enjoyed Emily Blunt in this movie too and if I didn’t know she was a great actress before, I do now. Can’t wait to see her in Mary Poppins next year! Extremely different from this movie, which was more a spoonful of cough medicine than sugar, but somehow still enjoyable, in a twisted sort of way.

Cheers and happy watching!


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