Thursday October 06, 2016
Movie Review: The Girl on the Train (2016)
There are actually three girls, but only one of them is on a train. None of them are likeable.
- Rachel (Emily Blunt), the lonely alcoholic, is obsessed with Megan (Haley Bennett), the aloof sexpot, whom she watches from the titular train. She spies on Megan; she all but stalks her.
- Rachel is lonely because Anna (Rebecca Ferguson), the condescending former real estate agent, stole Rachel’s husband, Tom (Justin Theroux), with whom she now has a baby.
- Megan nannies this baby, but she is also having an affair with Tom.
- Because Rachel idealizes Megan’s marriage to Scott (Luke Evans) from the train, she becomes enraged when she thinks Megan is having an affair—not with Tom, which she doesn’t know about, but with a third man, Dr. Kamal Abdic (Edgar Ramirez).
- When Megan goes missing, Rachel gives false information to Scott about Megan’s affairs.
- After Megan is murdered, Anna finds evidence implicating Tom but does nothing about it until Rachel forces her hand.
And this, ladies and gentlemen, is the final theme of the movie:
I shit you not.
After all that careless, bitchy, tabloid behavior, the movie has the nerve to get Feminist 101 on us. As the camera swirls around the statue of the three dancing maidens at the Untermyer Fountain in Central Park, it talks about how united they are, how right and righteous. Even though Tom made Rachel think she was bad and mean, he was the bad, mean one. She had been right all along. Someone even says that. “Rachel had been right all along. About everything.”
Right. Except for the drinking.
And the obsessive stalking.
And implicating Dr. Abdic.
And insinuating herself into the crime narrative.
And choosing Tom in the first place.
Seriously, is New York so bereft of options that each of these women choose/sleep with the abusive Tom, who—sorry, Justin—is no Brad Pitt?
“The Girl on the Train,” directed by Tate Taylor (“The Help”), and written by Erin Cressida Wilson (“Secretary”), from the novel by Paula Hawkins, has a chance at the beginning. When we first see Rachel commuting, forever commuting, neither leaving nor arriving, I was somewhat intrigued. It felt like limbo. I also liked it when she starts drunk-talking to the stranger’s baby. I’m a fan of the unreliable narrator.
Then it swirls away into a putrid vision of the worst tabloid fantasies of bored, privileged white girls. And a train runs through it.