The Girl on the Train (2016)

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Critic Consensus: Emily Blunt's outstanding performance isn't enough to keep The Girl on the Train from sliding sluggishly into exploitative melodrama.

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Movie Info

Rachel, devastated by her recent divorce, spends her daily commute fantasizing about the seemingly perfect couple who live in a house that her train passes every day, until one morning she sees something shocking happen there and becomes entangled in the mystery that unfolds. Based on Paula Hawkins' bestselling novel.

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Critic Reviews for The Girl on the Train

All Critics (281) | Top Critics (49)

The Girl on the Train is not weirdly great, or even good, though it doesn't really aim to be, positioning itself unabashedly as a knock-off Gone Girl.

Oct 10, 2016 | Full Review…

Nothing is duller or more stifling, as a rule, than people who wish to make it perfectly plain how stifled they feel by their dull suburban existence.

Oct 10, 2016 | Full Review…

If it came across your desk, you would probably give it a C-, along with feedback on how to improve on the next assignment.

Oct 8, 2016 | Full Review…
Salon.com
Top Critic

The flashback structure isn't wholly satisfying, and the climax leaves an abundance of questions, so much so that the movie might have benefited either from taking the time to further flesh those revelations out or stripping them down.

Oct 7, 2016 | Full Review…
CNN.com
Top Critic

Tate Taylor's new adaptation of The Girl on the Train takes the worst parts of the novel (excruciating dialogue, paper-thin plotting, ludicrous twists) and amplifies them.

Oct 7, 2016 | Full Review…

The Girl on the Train plods along, playing like a lifeless wax museum version of a real thriller.

Oct 7, 2016 | Rating: C- | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Girl on the Train

I hated the book, and I can't believe the movie is worse, but amazingly it is, despite a half decent cast. It's kind of confusing and all over the place.

Nicki Marie
Nicki Marie

Super Reviewer

Manipulative revenge-against-that-slimy-ex thriller that will eat your time like termites might devour your house: feels like it takes years.

Kevin M. Williams
Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer

"The Girl On The Train" ain't no "Murder On The Orient Express". The solution to the mystery becomes obvious halfway through when the murder victim is show in flagrante delicto with a faceless person who has the distinctive physique of only one other character. Later, it is explicitly stated that the key character is not two of only three possible candidates. What's more, that key character is acting entirely consistently with how he/she has acted before. The mystery train apparently only stops in Obviousville. Blunt's performance as a black-out drunk is entirely unconvincing. In fact, her sober moments are almost indistinguishable from her drunk moments. (Thank goodness for fuzzy focus and wobbly cameras or you might miss when her perceptions are through vodka-soaked eyes.) Threoux is tiresome and boring. Pacing is slow and the structure is unnecessary and almost haphazard. At least the cinematagraphy and set design are good. Overall, the film is drab, dull and dank. If I were on this train, I'd carpool next time.

Christian C
Christian C

Super Reviewer

Coming across like Gone Girl lite, the adaptation of the mega best-selling thriller The Girl on the Train seems to be on a runaway collision course with irony-free, amped-up melodrama and sundry "adult" sensuality reminiscent of the 90s boon of erotic thrillers like Jade and Sliver. The book by Paula Hawkins had three strong female lead characters each telling their own miserable worldview of trying to live up to social standards of motherhood and marriage. The movie seems to have shorn most of the focus on character and included every twist and turn, no matter how absurd. Take for instance just how insular this world is: Rachel (Emily Blunt) is the ex-wife to Tom (Justin Theroux) who left her for Anna (Rebecca Ferguson) who has a nubile nanny Megan (Haley Bennett) who is unhappy with her controlling husband Scott (Luke Evans), who happens to be the couple that Rachel voyeuristically observes and fantasizes domestic bliss. Megan goes missing and Rachel cannot account for her whereabouts because she has become a blackout drunk to kill her self-loathing and sense of internalized failure. The whodunit aspects of this movie can come across as rather hokey and overblown, but lacking the nasty nuance and subversive gender politics of the far superior Gone Girl. Every single person in the film has to come across like a suspect (Megan's husband, Megan's therapist, some guy in the road?) and talks in a curiously oblique style. The attempts at sexy lack heat but more than that they lack conviction. Director Tate Taylor (The Help) seems to think he's directing a Hitchcockian thriller one minute and a tawdry art film the next. The screenplay is also unhelpfully nonlinear, frivolously jumping around in time and point of view and muddling the overall timeline. Anna and Megan are drastically underwritten; Megan is a sex kitten with a dark secret that's trying too hard to be provocative, and Anna is an even more thankless role as the stand-in for Rachel's swirling antipathy. The concluding moment of girl power feels unearned, and the answers to the mysteries leave a lot more lingering questions about train platform-sized plot gaps. The best thing this Girl has going for it is Emily Blunt, who delivers a better performance than the film deserves. She's unrestrained, red-eyed, sloshing, and disturbing as a drunk. She's wounded and lashing out ferociously at the world, at her self, and it's fascinating and heartrending to watch. I bet it would be even better to read. Nate's Grade: C+

Nate Zoebl
Nate Zoebl

Super Reviewer

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