Directed by Tate Taylor
Rachel Watson (Emily Blunt) is a lonely alcoholic divorcée. She’s been riding the train for two years that goes past her old home. When the babysitter of her ex-husband and new wife disappears, she insinuates herself into that woman husband’s life in an attempt to find meaning. Her resulting involvement will shed new light on her past and change her world.
While the central character is an emotionally damaged woman suffering from her own demons the movie is still a mystery. What helps first and foremost in the mystery aspect is that the one person who should have a grasp on what she did does not. Rachel suffers from alcohol induced blackouts and has been suffering so for quite a while. She at first even believes she may have been behind the babysitter’s murder.
To say Rachel has issues is putting it mildly. As stated earlier she has been taking a train every day that goes past your house. She has been faking having a job for over a year having lost it in her downward spiral of loneliness and alcoholism. She takes her usual trip and then drinks her day away until it’s time for her to go home to her college friend Cathy’s house where she’s been living since the divorce.
Her daily trip to and from her “job” takes her past her old neighborhood and each day she chooses a seat where she can look out the window. Weird. She obsesses over her ex-husband Tom (Justin Theroux) and his new wife and former mistress Anna (Rachel Ferguson). She also obsesses over and has created a fantasy life centering on their married neighbors Scott (Luke Evans) and Meghan (Haley Bennett) which are relatively new to the neighborhood. That is a seriously messed up main character.
Rachel poses as a friend of Meghan after she disappears. She tells herself and her best friend that it’s part of an effort to let the police know what she saw one day from the train.
Rachel has been carrying a lot of guilt from her marriage. She had begun drinking after losing a baby. This caused a steady downward spiral for her. She was feeling especially guilty over causing her now ex-husband his job.
One of the things that’s slowly revealed over the film is that Rachel is not as messed up as she thought she was. She still has problems but some of the things she believes she did were not her at all. As the film goes on you realize just how psychologically abusive Tom was to Rachel. And you get a clear picture of the relationships of the assorted characters in the film.
The reveals are slow to come and are not right in your face. Each thing you learn, each bit of truth, is a wow moment. And quite honestly you won’t see the end coming unless you read the book in which case you probably have a good idea what’s going on throughout the movie. And that ending makes this movie messed up and a bit of a mind f**k. Holy cow!!
I bought The Girl on the Train at Big Lots! and it lingered in my unwatched pile for a few months until recently. I should’ve watched it sooner. I loved it. The acting is top-notch, and the story is well directed and perfectly written. It had many jaw-dropping moments. This is a truly great movie.