Movie Vs. Book: Girl on the Train

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A movie & book for the thrill seeker

Every time a best-selling book turns into a major motion picture, it’s hard not to compare the two. “The Girl on the Train” is a story that has gripped audiences of both literary and film fanatics, but did the movie live up to the book, or did the book outshine its film counterpart? Our reviewers have given you their opinion below, but we want to know yours. Click here to cast your vote as we try to determine which was your favorite!

Film Review
By Adam Lansdell

Deception. Abuse. Revenge. Murder. All the classic topics one might expect to find in your prototypical thriller. These phrases all ring true in the disturbing book to screen adaption of The Girl on the Train. While its trailers might lead viewers to believe the film is poised to be a carbon copy of the acclaimed, 2014 David Fincher film, Gone Girl; that might not necessarily be true.

 

Just outside of New York City, we’re introduced to our lead, Rachel, portrayed by Emily Blunt. Rachel is a daily commuter of New York’s metro system and often finds herself gazing out of her car in a haze of depression, at a specific set of houses. Rachel is a disparaged woman, an alcoholic and suffers from manic depression. Consumed by her failed marriage and the weight of her internal battle with alcoholism, her life is a pane of gray and it seems all of the lives around her are vivid perfections.

Blunt’s representation of this distressed women is very convincing and often times unsettling. As a viewer she consistently has you teetering on a sense of concern and sympathy. Even when uneasey, you can tell the troubled woman is not to blame for the direction her life has taken. As the story progresses we learn there’s more to her tale than what’s on the surface. This role seemingly came naturally to Blunt, who is known for her ability to take on gritty roles in the genres of action and drama. Nonetheless, her portrayal of the haunted, struggling young woman was impressive.

During the daily commute, Rachel finds herself obsessed with the wife of one of the nearby homes. Every day, in a drunken haze, she finds herself living vicariously through the young women, Megan – portrayed by rising starlet Haley Bennett – and her seemingly perfect marriage with her husband, Scott. Rachel feels she knows the intricate details of her life through a crafted fiction. Obsession leads our troubled lead to become invested in the couple emotionally and eventually, literally, as she finds herself engulfed in the investigation of Megan’s disappearance.

While the murder and its motives may seem clear from the get go, you may find yourself surprised at the way this story is told. Director Tate Taylor cleverly uses flashbacks consistently as a vehicle to show Rachel’s perspective on past events that lead to the downfall of her marriage, but we come to learn that her memories aren’t necessarily factual. Rachel’s struggle with alcoholism leaves her vulnerable and in turn, her recollection is dissipated by her inability to clearly recall the facts, even her whereabouts on the night of Megan’s disappearance. This lack of firm knowledge takes viewers on a path of unknowing as we venture on with Rachel to unravel the facts surrounding the murder – even questioning if she’s to blame.

The film climax is met with a sense of symbolism, as the truth is uncorked. While the film may have some issues with pacing, it maintains a plotline that is gratifying in the end. If you’re are a fan of mysteries and the thrill that comes with chasing a murder tale, then look no further, you’ve got yourself a mainstay of the genre’s modern undertakings.

Book Review
By Kalynne McIntyre

There are some books that grab a hold of you as you read them, introducing you to a wild ride full of twists and turns. Paula Hawkins’ new thriller, The Girl on the Train, falls into this category, telling a knotted tale full of secrets that will keep you guessing until the very end.

Told from the perspective of three different characters, The Girl on the Train unfolds one layer at a time until you’re thoroughly hooked. The three perspectives are from; Rachel, an alcoholic divorcé who rides the same train day in and day out; Anna, Rachel’s husband’s ex-mistress, now wife, who is desperate to keep her family together and far away from Rachel; and Meg, Anna’s new neighbor, who outwardly seems to have it all but is secretly hiding a dark past and living a lie.

For the past several months, Rachel has watched Meg and Anna in their respective houses from her seat on the train every single day like clockwork, noting their every move and imagining herself in her old life. One day, she sees Meg doing something completely out of the ordinary, and it rattles her. The next morning, Rachel wakes up after a long night of drinking, hung over, injured and full of regret. She can’t remember what happened, but knows that something did happen … something bad. A few hours later, she finds out that Meg has gone missing.

Once she learns about the woman’s disappearance, Rachel feels certain she had something to do with it. Did she see something that could help that day? Is she remembering things correctly, or is she wrong? Or, worse, is she somehow responsible? Likened to Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl, The Girl on the Train will have you on the edge of your seat, desperately trying to puzzle out what will happen before you reach the end of the novel.

Before The Girl on the Train, Hawkins worked as a journalist for fifteen years. She currently lives in London. For more information about her work, visit paulahawkinsbooks.com.




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Adam Lansdell

Adam Lansdell

Adam Lansdell is an Alumni of Grand Valley State University, and currently a Communication Specialist with M3 Group of Lansing. With a passionate for all things creative it comes as no surprise that he’s also a musician, movie buff and graphic designer. Adam spends his down time biking, and spending too much of his personal income on concert tickets or vinyl records

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