The movie version of the Paula Hawkins best-selling novel The Girl on the Train focuses on Rachel, played by Emily Blunt, an alcoholic struggling to recover from a tough divorce from Tom, played by Justin Theroux. The plot revolves around the mysterious disappearance of Megan Hipwell played by Haley Bennett and Rachel’s hazy memory of vaguely seeing Megan the night she went missing. The whole story goes back and forth between characters and who was where that night Megan disappeared. No one knows what happened to her.
Books and movies just cannot be compared. Everything is different. After reading the book I have these images in my mind about each character and what they look like. When it comes to life on the big screen you want it to be exactly the same. Everyday Rachel takes the same train into London, which in the movie is New York City, as that plays a pivotal part in the book. Translating words into actions is difficult, but the movie missed major key points. As a reader, there is insight about each character’s thoughts that the movie can’t include. Rachel’s obsession with her ex husband, Tom, is not justified in the movie. Rachel constantly calls Tom over and over again making Anna, his mistress and new wife, terrified. In the movie, it does not show Rachel coming around them that often. The book heavily describes characters appearances and each actor in the movie resembled the characters from the book.
Each chapter of the book is narrated by a different character creating the suspense throughout the whole novel. The movie captured this well by going back and forth between characters and opening the scene with their name in bold letters. The book jumps around to many different dates to capture the timeline of Megan’s disappearance. It starts in 2013 but then some chapters are in 2012 and others are back to 2013. The novel itself was difficult to follow with the different narrations and dates, but the movie makes it clear. The movie followed the same pattern in the book going back and forth between years. Every time it would switch dates it would be shown in big bold letters across the whole screen.
I had high expectations for the movie and all of the actors lived up to them. I envisioned Rachel as being someone who is sloppy as she downs vodka like water, and that is how Emily Blunt plays her. Blunt has chapped lips, blotchy skin, dark circles underneath her eyes; everything I envisioned. Megan was a beautiful blonde, Tom was a handsome well-cut man, Scott was rigid and almost aggressive. The images on the screen matched those that I had imagined. was hesitant going into the movie because I didn’t want the book to be ruined by the poor choice of actors, but the opposite happened. Scott and Megan looked like the perfect couple. The role of Kamal Abdic, Megan’s therapist, is heavily drawn out in the movie more than the book. In the movie, he plays no part in Megan’s disappearance, but the book makes him look like the culprit of the entire crime.
I get that the movie is limited to two hours, but there were some very important parts to the novel that were completely left out of the movie. Tom lies to Anna and says that he is going to the gym when in reality he is sneaking off with Megan. Anna ends up finding his gym bag and a mysterious flip phone that has Megan’s voicemail on it. That is a big turning point in the novel and could have easily been included in the movie. Scott, who is unstable as his wife has goes missing, becomes friends with Rachel after seeing Megan disappear. Rachel comes over to tell Scott that she saw Megan that night but cannot remember it clearly. They are both people who are not in their right minds and end up sleeping together for one night. Every little detail counts, especially in a novel where a drunk like Rachel saw Megan the night she disappeared.
The novel took you through each action carefully building up to what happened to Megan, but the movie did not let me down. It kept me on my toes waiting to see what would happen next and if Rachel could actually remember what happened to Megan the night she went missing.