A review by Joan Alperin.
The first thing you're probably wondering is if I read the book. The answer to that is yes.
And then you might be wondering did I like the book? The answer to that is No, I LOVED the book. The novel, in case you don't know, was a huge success and at the top of the bestseller list in 2015. It was written by Paula Hawkins and I can't wait for her next one.
Lastly, you might be wondering if I like the film and the answer to that is a resounding, NO.. Not only didn't I like the film, it actually annoyed me.
First problem: The book was set in England which gave it a certain neighbor feel, a certain texture...The houses were close together and small enough that you'd have no trouble believing that a person sitting on a train could easily spy on the inhabitants in their home.
For some ridiculous reason, the director, Tate Taylor, decided to set the story outside New York city where the houses were so large and so far back from the train tracks, that our main character, alcoholic Rachel Watson (Emily Blunt) would either have to use a telescope or have
x-ray vision to observe all the intimate details that were happening inside these sprawling homes.
Second Problem: Without giving anything away, there was a character in the book who was Rachel's friend and reluctant roommate. This character was extremely important in creating tension and giving insight into Watson's psyche. Their relationship caused a great deal of stress and urgency for Rachel. In the film, they reduced this 'so called' friend/roommate to one or two lines.
Now that I've expressed what bothered me about the film, I should say something about the story. Rachel is an alcoholic, divorced and obsessed with her ex husband Tom (Justin Theroux) and his beautiful new wife Anna (Rebecca Ferguson) Since she's lost her job due to her drinking and has nothing better to do, Rachel takes every opportunity to harass the couple. Oh did I mention, the train she rides back and forth on, always conveniently stops right outside her ex's house allowing her to spy on the happy couple.
But they're not the only ones that catch Rachel's eyes.
She also manages to get a glimpse into the world of ultra macho Scott Hopewell (Luke Evans) and his beautiful young girlfriend Megan (Haley Bennett) who ironically bears a strong resemblance to Anna and who used to be her nanny. Sounds complicated? Not really. Eventually the film turns into a murder mystery, but by that time, I'm exhausted and craving a glass of wine.
Emily is quite good as an alcoholic but for me it was a little one note. The whole film felt rushed and underdeveloped. It would be interesting to see what reaction the people who haven't read the book experience.
'The Girl On a Train' written by Erin Cressida Wilson opens in theaters Friday, October 7, 2016. I gave it three bagels out of five.