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The Girl on the Train (8/10)

by Tony Medley

Runtime 117 minutes.

Not for children.

Based on Paula Hawkins’ best seller, director Tate Taylor faithfully tells the story of Rachel Watson (Emily Blunt) who spends her days recovering from a divorce from her husband, Tom (Justin Theroux), traveling to and from New York on a train. An alcoholic, she passes her former house every day but becomes involved as if watching a soap opera in the lives of a couple in a neighboring house where the wife, Megan (Haley Bennett), and her husband, Scott (Luke Evans), live what she feels is the happy married life she wanted to live with Tom.

One day she is shocked to see Megan embracing a man who is not Scott. Almost heartbroken, she disembarks the train to investigate and things go from bad to worse.

The casting and acting are superb. Bennett, who recently appeared as about the only good thing in The Magnificent Seven, is as beautiful and stunning here as she was there. What I said in my review of that film goes here, too. Her beauty is so overwhelming that it can overshadow her outstanding performance.

Blunt is one of the best actresses around and carries the film as the troubled woman nobody likes or believes.

Rebecca Ferguson is excellent as Tom’s new wife, Anna. But, for me, the person who stands out maybe even above Blunt and Bennett is Allison Janney as Detective Riley. Whenever I’ve seen Janney, she has always come across as exactly the character she plays; she never seems to be acting. Even better, though, there was a lot of electricity when she was onscreen.

Probably everybody would like to be a casting director, and critics are no different. My only criticism of this film is Theroux as Tom. While he gives a good performance, I would have cast someone more likeable and sympathetic like Jason Bateman, who gave such a fine performance last year in The Gift. If you read the book, you might know what I mean after you see the movie.

Often when you read a terrific book and then see the movie you are disappointed, but I was not disappointed in this.