A divorced woman (Emily Blunt) sets out to discover the truth after she encounters memory loss following the disappearance of a young woman whom she watches from the train everyday.
The film adaptation, based on the bestselling book The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins is a mystery-thriller that follows the lives of three women – Rachel, Anna and Megan – but mainly focuses on the protagonist Rachel Watson (Blunt), a 32-year-old woman who is struggling to come to terms with the separation from her husband Tom (Justin Theroux).
Tom is now married to Anna (Rebecca Ferguson) and living with her and their baby Evie in the same house he and Rachel bought and once lived in together.
The pair live a seemingly perfect life aside from the fact he and his wife Anna are being harassed by Rachel, who calls Tom regularly and even steals baby Evie from their home whilst Anna is sleeping. Unsuprisingly Anna is irritated by Rachel’s behaviour.
As Rachel makes her daily commute to work on the train, she spots Megan (Hayley Benett), a young woman who seems numb to life and her husband’s touch, in an altercation with another man, who Rachel recognises is not her husband.
This is the same woman who Rachel describes in her opening monologue as having a ‘perfect relationship’. This discovery bothers Rachel greatly, so much so that she gets off the train.
Soon after the events of that day, Megan goes missing and is feared dead by her husband Scott and the police. The audience are introduced to a number of possible suspects that could be responsible for Megan’s disappearance, these include her husband who we have already seen displaying some violent behaviour towards her, and her therapist Kamal, who is counselling her on a regular basis and has a suspiciously close relationship with her.
Despite the fact both of these characters have some motive behind Megan’s disappearance, we as the viewers are led to believe Rachel has a strong involvement in it, due to her unpredictable behaviour, alcoholism and the aggressive and reckless behaviour we are shown her displaying in the flashbacks of her relationship with Tom.
Rachel herself worries about her own behaviour, but has few memories of what happened that night, so she sets out to investigate, by befriending Scott and attending a counselling session with Megan’s therapist.
While the movie is a little slow at points, often repeating the same shots of Rachel on the train, it definitely builds suspense and keeps the audience guessing about what really happened to Megan. It delivers some good plot twists and is very gone-girl-esque in terms of its style and themes of murder, betrayal and mental instability.
Despite Rachel’s unhinged behaviour, she was cheated on and had her world shattered by her husband who left her for a pretty, younger woman. In this this aspect we feel sorry for her character, much of this is thanks to Blunt, who delivers a fantastically raw and believable performance as Rachel Watson.
Featured image by Universal Pictures