‘Girl on the Train’ movie offers underlying differences to the book

Plot stays the same; everything else changes

Genesis Buckhalton

The ‘Girl on the Train’ is a book written by Paula Hawkins and now a movie produced by Tate Taylor. It follows the life of a woman named Rachel Watson who travels on train everyday at the exact same time and enjoys looking out the window to get a glimpse of people’s everyday lives as the train passes by. She soon becomes obsessed with a couple, Megan and Scott Hipwell, who become her “relationship goals.” The couple reminds her of the relationship she once had with her ex-husband, Tom Watson, who has moved on with his new wife Anna Watson, played by Rebecca Ferguson and their baby Evie.

One Friday night, Megan goes missing and Rachel becomes one of the main suspects, along with Megan’s husband Scott, and her psychiatrist, Kamal Abdic. Since she was intoxicated, Rachel must figure out what happened to Megan that night, before it’s too late.

After reading the first chapter of the book, I finally figured out that the setting of the book was London, England. I could tell by Rachel and the other characters accents.  In the movie, they were in a new location. In one scene, Rachel was talking about the train she takes everyday and how she takes it to Manhattan. It is pretty apparent that they filmed certain scenes in London, but filmed the other scenes in New York. The movie would have made more sense if everything would have stayed true to the book and been filmed in London.

The movie characters were all that I was expecting, except for Megan Hipwell, played by Haley Bennett. In the movie, one would describe her as a woman who sleeps around, but there’s more to her than that. From the book, we get to know Megan’s deepest most inner thoughts, how she loves Scott but hates feeling tied down. In the book you also realize that one of the reasons why she started falling for her psychiatrist Kamal, is because he made her feel safe and he made her feel like she could confide in him, which is his job, but to her it was something she had never experienced before. She doesn’t lust after these men for sex, but to find connections with other people.

The characters of Tom Watson, played by Justin Theroux, and Rachel Watson, played by Emily Blunt, were the shining stars throughout the movie. Tom is a complex guy, he is the actual definition of going from “0-100 real quick”, acting normal one second then crazy the next. The book and film did a good job at portraying Tom the same way, but the movie made him seem so much more real.  Rachel, who is drunk all throughout the movie, was portrayed by Emily Blunt, a pretty good fake drunk. With the movie, everything just came more alive.

One character the movie seriously messed up was the psychiatrist, Kamal Abdic played by Edgar Ramirez. In the book, Kamal was a refugee from a Middle Eastern country, but that didn’t show in his appearance. Ramirez, a Venezuelan, has olive skin and black hair. I definitely did not see him as a man from a Middle Eastern country, but I guess Hollywood saw something I didn’t. Also something that didn’t seem right was that in one scene of the movie, Kamal started speaking Spanish to Megan, as if out of habit, which would not fit with his supposed Middle Eastern heritage, which means the movie changed his country of origin without discussing it during the movie. This is a prime example on how Hollywood tries to fix things that don’t need fixing, like Middle Eastern Kamal vs. Hispanic Kamal.

Megan and Scott, lovers or married? That is the question I asked myself after leaving the movie theater. From the book, you get a better look into their marriage, all the way from Megan’s thoughts about Scott to how they communicate with each other. I only saw one conversation between Megan and Scott throughout the whole movie and they weren’t even talking, it was non-verbal. During her psychiatrist sessions in the movie, she talks about how abusive Scott is, but they did not show it. There is only one scene where it shows him jump up off his chair and walk towards her then the scene ends. In the book, Megan talks about different cases of his abuse in the book, especially the case when Scott grabs her by the neck during their fight the night she disappeared, which the movie decided not to show.

In conclusion, The Girl on the Train movie was more eye opening than the book, in terms of the scenes and characters coming to life. Even though the movie was more visual, the book still takes the gold medal because it goes more in depth on each of the characters, all the way to their thoughts and innermost secrets.


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