‘The Girl on the Train’ Book Prospers Over Movie Adaptation

photo courtesy of imdb

photo courtesy of imdb

Caleb Kowalewski, Staff Reporter

“The Girl on the Train” has been on my read list for some time now, and I finally got around to finishing it right as the movie was released.

In the movie, Emily Blunt plays the main character, Rachel Watson, who is a drunk and distraught ex-wife who wants nothing more than to be loved and involved again with her ex-husband who has married someone else.

The way Blunt plays Rachel was more than incredible, as she slurred her words and displayed weird moods consistent with the book character who frequently was portrayed as a crazed, alcoholic woman.

Despite Blunt’s acting, though, Rotten Tomatoes gave the movie a 42 percent, and according to its survey, 52 percent of the audience enjoyed it.

“Emily Blunt’s outstanding performance isn’t enough to keep ‘The Girl on the Train’ from sliding sluggishly into exploitative melodrama,” stated the website.

The movie just didn’t keep as steady of a pace as the plot in the book did, and the plot didn’t ‘flow’ as well either. Blunt just barely kept the movie going.

The book, on the other hand, grabbed the reader immediately and kept the reader engaged with the perspectives of the three women: Rachel; Anna, the wife of Rachel’s ex-husband; and Megan, a woman Rachel frequently observed on the train and who eventually goes missing.  The book made these perspectives easy to follow with chapter titles, hinting at the focus of each chapter and perspective.

The movie, however, mixed up the perspectives gradually throughout the movie, making it harder to follow than the book. For example, in the first few scenes, the movie displays a big black screen with the chosen character to display the transition of viewpoint. Later in the movie, they switch from Anna to Rachel fast and quick without a noticeable transition, which easily confused the viewer.

Also, many kids who read the book were quickly denied by their parents to see the movie because of the notorious ‘R’ rating, which keeps kids under 18 from viewing without parental consent.  The ‘R’ rating was given for five reasons:  ‘Sex and nudity, alcohol and drug use, violence, profanity and intense scenes’.

Although the movie does deserve the ‘R’ rating, many points in the movie (the scenes which gave it its ‘R’ rating) could’ve been easily avoided and didn’t have to be shown, which could have opened up the movie to a larger viewing audience.  It easily could have been made into a PG-13 movie because several parts of the movie were shown in a more in-depth manner than what was presented in the book.  That is also why the book is read by teenagers; it isn’t as graphic as the movie and breezes over insignificant parts of the book while the movie shows those insignificant pieces in more detail.

Overall, the book was better than the movie.  It could have been done in a way for a younger audience.  It should have emphasized Blunt’s acting more, and it should have altered its pacing to avoid the confusion that inevitably followed.  Also, the relationships were often distorted and hard to follow.  The book is a must read for all the people who love thrillers and romance with twists and turns. While the movie isn’t suitable for many people, I encourage those who have read the book to at least see it.


Categories Book Movie
Rating Young Adult and Up Rated R (18 years or older)
Total Money Made About $10 million (Forbes) $75,081,395 (The Numbers.com)
Location of Story London New York