A depressed woman boards a train to the city every day and catches a glimpse of a seemingly happy couple. When the wife goes missing, the woman feels she knows what’s happened, worse, she thinks she may have had something to do with it. With everyone in her life not believing her due to her alcohol dependency, she seeks out answers on her own.
Of all things that this film can be praised for, it’s the fact that it is completely engaging from beginning to end. It moves on the slightly slower side, but this definitely works in its favor. We are given several characters to follow throughout the film, more so the three main females. The length of the film gives us plenty of insight and development of these characters, and with each moment we are spent with them, we get more insight as to who they are, and the developments that comes with them. In our lead character Rachel, there are times where we are unsure whether to trust her or to pity her, and that’s one of the engrossing things about it. We want to get more of her, and that’s what happens as we learn more about Rachel and her story. The same can be said about the character Megan who goes missing. We have our initial thoughts about her, but as the film progresses we see a side of her that’s different than what we initially see. The current wife of Rachel’s ex-husband also fits into this mold. The characters are genuinely what makes the film so great is that it’s a strong character study that gives us many different scopes in how to view these characters. It’s as if we are also a passenger on a train and seeing these people we have our own thoughts on until we get a closer look. But before I digress too far, I’ll get into the mystery aspect. The storyline of the missing girl and who is involved definitely keeps you guessing. All of the characters involved with her have some kind of motive that you are analyzing the whole time of who did it. But without giving too much away, there are actually many plot twists and mysteries that are more interesting than the “whodunit” aspect. I will say that if you’re expecting a massive thriller with heart-pounding sequences, you won’t get that here. This is purely a mystery film with suspense surrounding it that keeps you guessing.
As far as performances go, Emily Blunt and Haley Bennett are easily the biggest ones that standout. Both actresses I honestly feel deserve a best actress and best supporting actress (respectively) nomination at this upcoming Oscars. Blunt plays our lead and she has so many different emotions to work with in this role and one can even say different personalities. We see Rachel as this scared, confused, lost, and self-destructive woman that could be capable of anything, and Blunt nails all of this. Bennett plays the “missing girl” whom also has different sides of the character to portray. A bored wife, a lonely woman, an adulterer, and a victim. Bennett provides a strong breakthrough performance here that hopefully will gain her star-power. Like Blunt, Bennett shows all of these personalities brilliantly. In one scene near the end of film where she reveals a secret to her therapist, that scene alone makes her deserving of a nomination in how she perfectly lets all of the built up emotions of the character out. While these two actresses steal the show, the supporting cast also does a fine job in bringing their characters to life. I will say I definitely wanted more of Laura Prepon (That 70’s Show, Orange is the New Black) in the film as Blunt’s character’s roommate, whom can easily be considered the most normal person in the film.
The Girl on the Train is a completely engrossing story from beginning to end that keeps you hooked with the characters and the mysteries surrounding them as well as the story. It’s also a film where various themes can be found and greatly discussed after the film is over. Backed by award-worthy performances by Emily Blunt, Haley Bennett, and the rest of the cast, as well as an excellent score and cinematography, this is film is a definitely must see.