The Girl on the Train: A Review

This film is proof that sometimes we judge people based on the conventions that society has instilled in our heads

By Anna Lucchinetti

It happens to everyone who gets on a train and starts to watch people’s behaviour: wondering about their lives, their jobs, if they have a family and what their names are. However, afterwards these people remain only images in the mind. They are like shadows – they are not real because they do not have an impact in our lives anymore. But, what would happen if these shadows materialise, if they stop being surreal and start to be a part of our lives?

This is what The Girl On the Train is about. Rachel is a young woman with a serious drinking problem. Her life started falling apart when her husband, Tom (Justin Theroux), left her to raise a new family with a woman he had an affair with, Anna (Rebeca Ferguson). Rachel develops a strange obsession for Tom’s new family and to keep herself busy takes the suburban commuter train into Manhattan every day in order to pass by the town where Tom and Anna live. However, Tom and Anna are not the only people Rachel sees on the train. In fact, Rachel always watches a couple who lives, what appears to be ‘the perfect life’ in their house next to the railway. For Rachel, the couple is the embodiment of the life she lost and everything she desires. A few days later whilst drunk, Rachel sees the woman, Megan (Hayley Bennett), kissing another man and enraged, gets off the train to follow the other woman in order to scold her for her unfaithfulness. However, not all goes to plan and the following day when Rachel wakes up, she is covered in blood, without any memory of the night and discovers that Megan is missing…


It is possible to say that The Girl On the Train, alongside having an intriguing plot, can also be considered highly educative. Indeed, it teaches us how things are never quite as they seem, perhaps asking us to look twice and not judge so quickly. People are different from how we see them, and this film is proof that sometimes we judge people based on the conventions that society has instilled in our heads.

During the pre-release of the film there was genuine worry from filmgoers that the plot would not be all that engaging. However, watching the movie for myself proved the exact opposite. In fact, the director, Tate Taylor, did an incredible job in creating a sense of tension and danger which runs from the very beginning to the last minute of the film. It is also impressive how the director managed to simultaneously answer the initial questions raised during the story and bring light to the new mysteries that are revealed at the very end.

Conclusively, The Girl On the Train is something out of the ordinary in the film world. Personally, I think this film aims to make viewers aware of the fact that they normally miss what is behind the mask of the typical person. Furthermore, it is notable to say that, thanks to the director’s abilities, this film brings back to memory classics such as Hitchcock’s Rebecca and Marnie, as the anxiety and tension felt whilst watching the film is ever present.


Anna Lucchinetti

This article was published in our October 2016 issue.

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