Book to Movie Review: The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

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Don’t Judge a Book by its Movie is a feature on The Candid Cover spotlighting and reviewing book to movie adaptations. 

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Author: Paula Hawkins
Publisher: Doubleday Canada
Cast: Emily Blunt, Rebecca Ferguson, Haley Bennett
Director: Tate Taylor
Screenplay: Erin Cressida Wilson

Summary (from Goodreads):  Three women, three men, connected through marriage or infidelity. Each is to blame for something. But only one is a killer in this nail-biting, stealthy psychological thriller about human frailty and obsession. 

 Just what goes on in the houses you pass by every day? 

Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning and evening, rattling over the same junctions, flashing past the same townhouses.The train stops at the same signal every day, and she sees the same couple, breakfasting on their roof terrace. Jason and Jess, as she calls them, seem so happy. Then one day Rachel sees someone new in their garden. Soon after, Rachel sees the woman she calls Jess on the news. Jess has disappeared. 

Through the ensuing police investigation, Rachel is drawn deeper into the lives of the couple she learns are really Megan and Scott Hipwell. As she befriends Scott, Rachel pieces together what really happened the day Megan disappeared. But when Megan’s body is found, Rachel finds herself the chief suspect in the case. Plunged into a world of betrayals, secrets and deceptions, Rachel must confront the facts about her own past and her own failed marriage.

A sinister and twisting story that will keep you guessing at every turn, The Girl on the Train is a high-speed chase for the truth.

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If there is one thriller that needs to be on your to-be-read list, The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins is it. The characters are so well developed and the story is one that will keep you guessing right up until the end. An adaptation of any book is sure to be different from the original, however this film did a wonderful job of keeping most of the story intact.

Told in alternating perspectives, The Girl on the Train gives the reader pieces of the story from the view points of three different women. The main character, Rachel, is one that is a very unreliable and often dislikable character due to her alcoholism and her desperate need for attention from her ex-husband. As the novel unfolds, however, Rachel starts to get a better sense of reality and what has really happened to Megan. Hawkins really crafts an amazing story and writes in such a way that gets deep into the mind of an addict.

When I first saw the trailer for The Girl on the Train, I knew that this was one movie that I had to see. Emily Blunt is the perfect Rachel and the transformation that takes her from a beautiful and put together woman to one who has hit rock bottom is fantastically portrayed. Some of the story is told in a slightly different way, but the main aspects of Hawkins’ novel are still present. There is one thing that bothered me about the portrayal of one of the characters, however. Megan’s psychiatrist, who is a suspect in her death was depicted as tall Indian man and this is certainly not the actor, Edgar Ramirez’s, race or stature. I would have liked to see this character represented properly, although Ramirez’s acting is quite powerful.

This is one movie that does not require the viewer to have read the book beforehand. Everything that is needed to grasp all of the details are in the film. If I had to choose between reading the novel and seeing this movie, however, I would without a doubt read the book. While I don’t think that The Girl on the Train should be judged by its movie, it is a very enjoyable film.

10 thoughts on “Book to Movie Review: The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

  1. Anne C says:

    I was not a fan of the book. I read it because of the hype and maybe my expectations was too high. I will still watch the movie because I love Emily Blunt! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

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