‘The Girl on the Train’: Here’s What It’s Really About

Lisa Rosman in Signature:

9780735212152First things first: “The Girl on the Train” is a wonderfully faithful adaptation.

In a move that seems downright brilliant now, the film rights forPaula Hawkins’s dark mystery were bought months before its early 2015 publication, at which time it went on to sell more than eleven million copies, spend months on international best-seller lists, and, most importantly, capture us by the throat with its unnerving, elegantly wrought tension. Yet the early purchase of those rights was not eerilyprescient, for the book is cinematic in the very best of ways: At core, it is about the power and pain of the female gaze.

In her translation of Hawkins’s story, gimlet-eyed screenwriter Erin Cressida Wilson (“Secretary,” “Chloe”) upholds the bones of its structure by deftly juggling the entwined narratives of three women living in the same suburban region. (The book is set in the outskirts of London; the film, New York.) Fired from her public relations job, alcoholic Rachel Watson (Emily Blunt, washed-out and sad-eyed as we’ve never seen her) still commutes to the city every day to hide her job loss from already-wary friend Cathy (Laura Prepon), who’s let her crash in a spare room since her divorce two years ago. Alas, that daily train ride passes Rachel’s former home, now occupied by her ex-husband, Tom (Justin Theroux), his former mistress and current wife, Anna (Rebecca Ferguson), and their baby girl.

More here.