The Girl on the Train (La Fille du RER) Reviews

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May 13, 2014
Domestic violence
½ September 12, 2013
After all these years, I still can't quite get along that, there are way too many agenda being included in a film from French Cinema, especially when the story is told in a very serious, uptight tone with spontaneous narrative & so-called "natural" acting. This is just an example.
February 5, 2010
I am going to pass on this.
½ August 9, 2013
An interesting story, with tons of questions and few answers. Well told but nothing exceptional.
½ March 22, 2013
"La Fille du RER" or "The Girl on the Train" is a tough nut to crack. On one side, it's a tidy, neat treat from the delicious tastes of French cinema; yet on the other, it's a film that raises a potentially very compelling and controversial topic but merely glosses over it and does just about nothing with it. It's hard to discredit it completely though, because it does have Catherine Deneuve in a leading role, and the talent of André Téchiné at the helm.
The film focuses on Jeanne (Émilie Dequenne), a pretty but troubled young woman who floats aimlessly throughout life, with her supportive mother (Deneuve) always in the wings. Jeanne's life suddenly becomes a little more exciting when brooding wrester/thug Franck (Nicolas Duvaunchelle) charms her. She moves in with them, they begin dating, and then they get a sweet gig working as caretakers for a warehouse that actually is filled with drugs (which is unknown to Jeanne). After Franck is stabbed by an impatient junkie, Jeanne barely escapes getting arrested, and even worse, Franck wants nothing to do with her. If we didn't know Jeanne was fragile before, now we do, because suddenly, after hearing many stories similar on TV, she fabricates a story in which a group of strangers attack her because they believe she's Jewish. But why does she do it?
At one glance, "La Fille du RER" works well in the sense that it's realistic, and it makes for a somewhat involving piece of drama. Téchiné directs every scene with style and flair, but never overdoes it, while the score is unsettling but just as mysterious as the characters themselves. From a technical standpoint, the film is gorgeous, but it doesn't have much more to offer than that.
Dequenne and Deneuve are both excellent though; Dequenne manages to make Jeanne seem a bit troubled without ever once overdoing it, while Deneuve it heartbreaking as the caring mother that doesn't know how to deal with the mess her daughter has made. They make use of what little they have to work with, and it's disappointing they couldn't have been in a better film than this.
The pacing and story just feels imbalance-- almost 3/4 of the film are taken just to explain the relationship between Jeanne and Franck, and Jeanne and her mother, and how it could have molded her into a crazed mess. By the time the actual "hate-crime" idea comes along, there's a mere half-hour left, which doesn't give the viewer any time to fully absorb what's happening. The topic itself it subtly skimmed over, and resolved so quickly that hardly any drama occurs. Everything in the film feels way undercooked-- even with just twenty more minutes, it could've broadened its ideas a little bit and eventually become a better film. But instead, it's stuck in a world where style comes over substance.
"La Fille du RER" is a decent French thriller, but it isn't as good as it should be, considering the subject matter. Only for the biggest fans of either Deneuve or Téchiné, or both.
½ January 15, 2013
Beautifully shot, this moralistic drama is visually and emotionally intriguing. The use of different camera movements, changing between hand held, long shots and close ups are used to create intense drama. Also, the repetition of imagery and even use of dual exposure creates a visual emotional language that communicates the drama in this film. It is based on an actual case, although adapted. The performances are good especially Emilie Dequenne as Jeanne, creating an intense emotional narrative, that like most French films leaves much open and ambiguous and thus all the more interesting. Overall this film is superbly shot and brings up some interesting religious, political, moral and social issues.
September 29, 2012
Bizarre, but mostly because it's fact-based.
Super Reviewer
½ August 21, 2012
Episodic and slow-paced, this bizarre fact-based drama benefits from a dreamy visual style, poetic editing and three immersive central performances. It's a universal truth that people lie; "The Girl on the Train" is a rare exploration of what that can mean.
March 17, 2012
Jeanne (Ămilie Dequenne) is a young woman who wants to have her vacations in Italy but this year she has a debt of 130 euros in the bank and is currently with no work. She uses her roller skates to go every where, and that is how she meets Franck (Nicolas Duvauchelle). Then, Jeanne moves in together with Franck but she has no idea that he accepted a drug dealer offer to be able to afford a house for them. A surreal story with an ordinary end. While she has no luck and end up in jail, the lawyer that once could had given her a job and helped her is busy at his grandson's bar mitzvah.
½ May 31, 2011
Well-intended psychodrama for the hyper PC French nation. I can't criticize it for that. "Real" French versus Jews versus the Others.... why can't we all live together? Personally I just can't get that exercised over it. If it was set somewhere more hypothetical, like Mars, I'd say it's not a very good script at all. The acting? The young man is quite good--I'd like to see more of him. Some critics are praising the young woman but no...she does nothing but pose for the camera... Where's the acting"? Catherine Deneuvre puts in about her thousandth film appearance as Madame d' France. All she ever has to do is change the spoken lines, then pick up the paycheck. Didn't she even wear the same MAKEUP last time? Some of the cinematography is quite good. As for the musical score...ummm...was there one?
½ May 26, 2011
I expected a lot more from this movie. Specially because after hating French films for many years, in the last 3 or 4 years I really began to love French cinema. However, this film did not fulfill my expectations and, even though I did not hate it, I found myself waiting for a better plot and a more interesting development.
April 13, 2011
What some people do is inexplicable. They just do it and we can't be sure why. I suppose psychologists would say it is attention-getting behavior or, on another level, I wish to be with the outcasts, the pariahs, and the persecuted. Again, is she merely angry because her love affair turned into a hoax. So many answers, that is why the movie is a riddle.
½ February 21, 2011
Shallow drama. Andre has done much better. No fault, the actors. Story itself is delinquent. Too many writers. Blanc is terrific as always.
February 15, 2011
Deneuve and Dequenne are outstanding in this film which I quite enjoyed from that very first extended traveling shot in which we were the train, inside the tunel, speeding fast towards that light we're seeing at the end of it all. This is a fact-based film, and incredible at that, and its a terrific character study of Jeanne, a woman that's beautiful in her own different way and who lives with her mother, Louise, near a train track. Jeanne rides the train, she roller blades, she tries to get a job.

Then Jeanne meets Franck, a rough athlete that seduces her until they move in together, but then their relationship turns bad, and Jeanne ends up pretending she was the victim of an anti-Semitic attack. I said this was a story based on actual facts, the facts are ones that made news in 2004, about this woman who said she was the victim of an anti-Semitic attack by six African men who she said pulled her hair, slashed her clothes, made swastikas on her body and pushed over the stroller where her baby was.

You can see how these news would shock the world, the then-president of Frances, Jacques Chirac condemned the attack, Israeli authorities urged the Jews of France to leave to avoid further incidents like that. But then, the victim of the attack, who wasn't even Jewish, came forward saying that she had made up the whole thing.

The film doesn't focus on the political issues and further complications and extended consequences of this, Mr. Téchiné, with whom I share a first name, is a filmmaker that likes it better to explore more the emotions and psychological complexities beneath it all, he doesn't do it like a filmmaker that pretends to understand, he's just a filmmaker that likes to illustrate. The scenes in which Jeanne rollerblades to nowhere may seem as just that, but they also feel like much more.

Téchiné divides his film into two very distinct parts, the circumstances and the consequences, and he does a fine job exploring the story, introducing a Jewish family along the way. Yes, this is a fact-based story, but it doesn't focus on the lie, it focuses on the woman, on why she did why she did, on how much she wanted love, and on every thing else that can be read between the lines of the obvious things other filmmakers would have rather focused on, and in that way this one succeeds.

Grade: B
½ September 29, 2010
Watched with English subtitles.
"When she lies, she is in her own world."
"She is quite rebellious, I would say."
Right there, I see another layer of the girl. Then she appears on her rollerblade. A close shot of her sliding on the street shows another meaning of "the girl on the train."
Subtle yet profound.
May 22, 2010
The Girl On The Train is a small French film that is much less subtle than the other French films I've been watching lately. An act of violence draws a woman into some sort of breakdown concerning antisemitism. I guess it's based on a true story, but for some reason I get the feeling that if I heard someone tell me the story I'd be more compelled.
May 21, 2010
One of the best movies ive ever seen
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