Solving a mystery. So this is about a divorced woman with a drinking problem (Emily Blunt). She rides the train every day and enviously peers into the life of a couple that she believes to be happy. She thinks she witnesses the girl have an affair, and starts conducting her own investigation. The similarities are there, and it is very apparent what this movie and story is trying to be: this is totally Gone Girl. It is giving you little pieces of a mystery, bit by bit, and pushes you towards a conclusion that promises a big reveal. It’s a drama thriller that’s meant for a certain audience, and guess what? I’m that audience. To be clear, Gone Girl is the better made movie, but if you love Gone Girl like I do, the chance of you connecting with this is very high.
If you want to like thrillers, but naturally connect with dramas more, than this is your movie.
Now as fun as getting drunk on a train seems on paper, this woman has got some serious problems. I thought Emily Blunt did an amazing job with this part; she is playing this raw, broken woman so well, and she injects all these little tiny details into her performance. She has chapped lips this entire movie, and she always has this distant look in her eyes throughout. I think it is her best role to date; in Sicario she is kind of a blank avatar for the audience, and in The Devil Wears Prada, she’s good, but she is playing a character that doesn’t call for all that much range. This is totally her movie to carry, and while she is flawed to the point of being depressingly sad, you’re always rooting for her to turn it around and put together all of the pieces to this puzzle.
The rest of the supporting cast is great as well, but Blunt is what you walk away talking about.
This story uses one of my favorite narrative devices in the unreliable narrator, and it makes total sense as well; your protagonist is a drunk who blacks out on a regular basis, how reliable can the story be that she is telling you? I liked how so much of this is filmed in drunk vision, it really does add to the story being told. The one critique I really have here is that this movie features a whole lot of flashbacks, and it gets a bit confusing discerning what is happening now and what happened in the past. You have to just roll with it, but eventually everything starts to clear up and make sense, much like it would if you were to finally get sober after a bender. This is a great adult drama thriller, and I highly recommend it.
The Girl on the Train (2016) ****
– Critic for Hire
Want to see where this fell in my list of best films of the 2016? See for yourself here.