Rated R. Running time: 1 hour 52 min.
Our content ratings: Violence 3; Language 3; Sex/Nudity 4.
Our star rating (1-5): 3.5
Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler, and whoever is led astray by it is not wise.
For Rachel Watson (Emily Blunt) it is not wine, but cheap vodka that fogs her mind and helps her to forget her troubles. She is the Girl on the Train in director Tate Taylor’s tale focusing upon her and two other women living in the New York suburb of Ardsley-on-Hudson. The film is both a murder mystery and a study of a divorced woman unable to cope with her loss and fixating on what she thinks is a far happier woman living the life she dreams of regaining.
Each day, her vodka concealed in a designer bottle, she rides the commuter train back and forth while drinking. The houses she stares at through the window become familiar, especially a stately two-story one with a second-story porch where she notices a beautiful blond woman standing—sometimes alone, seemingly in thought; other times the woman is in the arms of a handsome man whom the viewer takes to be the husband.
Then on another trip there is the same woman embraced by a man, but he is not the one Rachel has always seen. Soon Rachel is hurtling down a rabbit hole of a tale wherein her fate becomes entwined with two other women and her former husband married to one of them. The woman she has been observing has gone missing on the very night that Rachel has decided to confront her about her infidelity. Thus, Rachel might be the one who has murdered her, though due to a violent blow to her head in a pedestrian tunnel she cannot say because she has lost her memory of the events of the fatal night. Her former husband and new wife also figure into the disturbing mystery.
Emily Blunt is excellent in this jumbled tale of loss, envy, lust, and hatred. Told by Rachel in a series of often confusing flashbacks, there are some surprises, as one expects in a mystery. In olden times of double features, this film would have been the B film. It never rises to the level of Tate Taylor’s The Help, also a tale of women under stress, but a far better one.
No discussion questions for this film.