Sunday, October 9, 2016

The Girl on the Train [2016]

MPAA (R)  CNS/USCCB (O) (1 1/2 Stars)  AVClub (C+)  Fr. Dennis (2 1/2 Stars)

IMDb listing
CNS/USCCB (J. Mulderig) review
Los Angeles Times (J. Chang) review (C. Lemire) review
AVClub (I. Vishnevetsky) review

The Girl on the Train [2016] (directed by Tate Taylor, screenplay by Erin Cressida Wilson based on the novel [GR] [WCat] [Amzn] by Paula Hawkins [wikip] [GR] [WCat] [Amzn] [IMDb]) is a well acted and _fun_ (it must have been a blast for the actors/actresses to get-into / play their roles) if DARK suburban melodrama -- call it "Real (or REALLY, REALLY DRUNK / FLAWED) Housewives of New York's Westchester County" where honestly _no character_ comes out a hero / heroine. 

Rachel (played marvelously by Emily Blunt) a late 30s-40ish former Westchester Co. wife begins the film honestly not knowing what had hit her (and 10-15 minutes into the film, she _literally_ gets hit in the head by someone or something).  She had been married, okay not particularly happily -- she had thought the main problem had been that she and her husband Tom (played by Justin Theroux) had had trouble having kids (and oh, yes, and she had an obvious/awful drinking problem).  But now, a year plus after her divorce, she was reduced to spending her days (and her alimony payments) riding the commuter train, back and forth -- all day, everyday -- between the lovely suburban suburban town where she _once lived_ and the City, her/Tom's former house visible from the train.  HE still lived there with HIS new wife, Anna (played again wonderfully, somewhat cluelessly / jealously by Rebecca Furguson), and his/Anna's baby. 

Who would do that??  Ride by one's old house / old life, all day, everyday, drinking the whole time vodka from a slurpee cup with a straw?  Well, someone who honestly "didn't know what hit her" in life. 

Well, as Rachel's ridden the train by her (former) house, each day, everyday, in her alcohol blurred haze, she spotted and "comes to know" from a necessarily rather creepy, distance ... a couple that had moved into a house two doors down from her old house.  THEY seemed so happy.  THEY seemed to have the loving affectionate marriage (his arm ever gently around her) that SHE, Rachel, never really had, and now -- divorced, from the man, Tom, who SHE, Rachel, had loved but who somehow never loved her, or (she feared) perhaps she had disappointed (first by not being able to have kids, and then by her drinking -- SHE, Rachel, feared she would _never have_.

Well, ONE DAY as Rachel's passing the her former house, in her usual alcohol blurred haze, and looking toward the house of her neighbors with their perfect marriage, she spots the wife (played by Haley Bennett) on the porch with a man's arm affectionately around her, 'cept ... HE'S NOT THAT WOMAN'S HUSBAND. 

Stunned, when Rachel arrives on the commuter train in the city, she gets off, goes to a bar, and after _a few more drinks_ DECIDES that SHE'S going to straighten that woman out!  So ... by now barely able to stand / walk drunk, Rachel takes the train one more time to her old suburban home town, gets off the train at the station, walks toward the street where she used to live, to head toward the house of that woman and STRAIGHTEN HER OUT.  She spots said woman, in a jogging suit, passing under the underpass that she needs to pass through to get to her former / that woman's homes.  Rachel calls out ... "HEY!"  Angry and drunk, Rachel even calls her a rather strong name! ...

THE LAST THAT Rachel remembers ... is walking up on the side of said underpass that she would have taken to get to her former and that other woman's house.  AND THEN ... nothing.  When she wakes up,  she's clearly hit her head and had been bleeding.  Worse, the woman that she wanted to talk to / straighten-out had gone missing since, And ... a few days later, the police come looking to "talk to Rachel" ...

The rest of the movie ensues ;-)

Okay, the story runs like an even darker (R-appropriate) version of something that one would expect on the Lifetime Channel, but IMHO, it honestly worked ;-)  And again, I would imagine that _everybody involved_ really enjoyed playing their "quite messed up" roles. 

NOBODY is a hero / heroine in this film, but honestly, almost everybody will probably feel sorry for this woman Rachel, who, yes, "had her issues," but deserved so much better than this.  A great / and even "fun" if often quite sad / anguished film ;-).

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