The Girl on the Train

girl-on-the-train-theDirector: Tate Taylor
Run Time: 1h 52m
Stars: 1.5

If you’re a fan of Lifetime movies, you should skip this review and just go watch The Girl on the Train. It’s right up your alley. Reading any further will only upset your fragile mind because I will be harshly judging you for the next few minutes.

Alcohol, depression, and an abundant amount of free time are a deadly combination. Just ask Rachel (Emily Blunt). Two years ago her husband Tom (Justin Theroux) left her for Anna (Rebecca Ferguson). Tom and Anna now share the life that was supposed to be Rachel’s: living in her dream house raising a child together. Twice a day she passes by that house while she rides the train into the city, but it’s not Anna she envies anymore. It’s the mystery woman who lives a few doors down. This beautiful blonde has a perfect life…or so Rachel imagines. The woman’s name is Megan (Haley Bennett) and her life with Scott (Luke Evans) is far from perfect. She’s cheating on her husband with another man — her therapist (Édgar Ramírez) — and Rachel is devastated when she finds out. She is reminded of Tom’s infidelity and it reignites feelings she’s never been able to quite extinguish. That’s why when Megan goes missing, Rachel feels she owes it to Scott to help. I guess. But her drunken black-outs and shattered memory make it difficult for Rachel to rule herself out as a suspect in Megan’s disappearance.

Holy sh*tballs. What an atrocity. If I had to pick one word to describe The Girl on the Train it would have to be: hollow. These characters are despicable and I didn’t care one bit about what happened to any of them. If they had all been struck by a train one at a time over the course of two hours, it would have been more entertaining than this mess.

You have Rachel. A lying, manic depressive drunk who can’t mind her own damn business and thinks that she is way more interesting than she actually is. Her sick obsession with a beautiful stranger — who is either half-naked or fully naked every time Rachel sees her — is not a way to win my affection.

Next up: Megan. She and Scott are exhibitionists who love to torture each other. The only things they have in common are beauty and sex. And if they had just closed their curtains, a lot of what we see could have been avoided. Megan has perhaps the only truly tragic past, but her behavior doesn’t make me pity her. Feeling trapped in her huge house with her gorgeous sex-crazed husband is #firstworldproblems to the Nth degree.

The only one that has Megan beat in the self-pity-party department is Anna. She’s a stay-at-home mom who for some reason also needs a nanny. At one point she literally complains about how she’s so busy because she has to go to the farmer’s market to find healthy food for her baby. It’s exhausting. Add to that the fact that she’s the “other woman” and you’ve got yourself a world class bee-otch who is undeserving of my attention.

I’m going to group the men together because this movie sure does. Tom and Scott are both emotionally abusive to the women in their lives and can basically do whatever they hell they want because they’re a-holes. For some reason the fact that they know this about themselves makes it acceptable for them to behave as such. If I walked away with any moral from this film it’s that men are evil, b*tches be crazy, and babies ruin everything. Was Paula Hawkins on her period when she wrote this novel?

I did in fact read The Girl on the Train before seeing the movie. While I wasn’t blown away, it was a decent thriller. I had stronger feelings for the characters in the book than I did for their movie counterparts. But the repackaging of the story failed miserably and made me second-guess my appreciation for the book. That should say something if instead of shouting “The book was way better!”, this film made me turn on the book altogether.

TGOTT is a classic example of how good acting cannot save a film. There seems to be a lot of debate about which is more important when it comes to movies: acting or story? I have always been a firm believer that you need a healthy balance of both because one can destroy the other. Case in point: Emily Blunt. She is an amazingly talented actress and she committed to her role — however excruciating — of Rachel. However terrible this movie may have been, it still can’t dissuade me of Blunt’s acting skills. And while none of the other actors were particularly bad, they certainly didn’t outshine Blunt. It was just disappointing that she wasted her time with this movie. This story destroyed her performance.

Perhaps the worst thing that can happen in a thriller is when you get to the climactic reveal and everyone laughs. We find out everything that happened, who was involved, and how everyone feels about it. *cue the giggles* It was painful to sit through 100 minutes of pure filth, but it was even more painful to sit through the last 12 as the characters find their respective versions of closure.

I suppose everyone could have just been really over the whole thing by the end. This could have something to do with the film’s approach to the “nothing is as it seems” cliché. If the audience is forced to watch flashback after flashback, don’t change the damn flashback several times before you finally show us which one was true. This isn’t clever. It’s lazy. Audiences don’t appreciate lazy. Plenty of films have succeeded in the vague flashback sequence that led to a big shocking reveal. It is an entirely possible thing to achieve. But if the film is constantly giving the audience the middle finger, we’ll kindly do the same when the credits roll.

Don’t bother to pay money for this one. It’ll be premiering on TV in no time.

This movie desperately wanted to be Gone Girl. Do yourself a favor and just watch Gone Girl.


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