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The Girl on the Train (2016)


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No thread? (Seems like we have a thread for another movie with same title, but I couldn't find anything for this one.)

I'm very much on the fence about this film, though I suspect I will ultimately resolve things in the movie's favor. Some verbal processing from Facebook:

I am totally not surprised by The Girl on the Train's 51% at Rotten Tomatoes.

Wife said  she liked it / esteemed it a bit more than I, mentioning that Emily Blunt seems destined for an Oscar nod. (Indeed, I wonder if that was the primary purpose of the movie.)

My own feelings are more conflicted. There is a ripeness and emotionally bombastic quality to this material (I also read the book) that I find distasteful. I had similar feelings about Gone Girl. On the other hand, I could totally see it being this generation's FATAL ATTRACTION. There are clearly some buttons being pushed, particularly along gender lines, that are real.
It's not that I loved the book...I didn't. But the book did some things better. The sordidness of alcoholism, it being more built into her character and self-definition rather than just it being a plot device.

But even though the self-destructive qualities are softened in the first half of the movie there is something here that I see of value...

There is a scathing, painful honesty about the *emotional* consequences of divorce and infidelity. The story's structural innovation (both a strength and weakness) is that you don't see the marriage, much less the love, just the aftermath. So some of the socially unacceptable behavior is understood as coming from a place of pain rather than anger. And there is something archetypal and, I think, important, about a heroine who saves herself (warts and all) by coming to understand the truth of her situation rather than who is saved or who heals by accepting blame for her situation.

I thought a lot about the whole "it's all my fault" Disney heroine meme while watching this film. (http://1morefilmblog.com/2012/07/28/emma-merida-and-the-female-bildungsroman/ ) If you don't see the connection, the perceptual gulf between us may be too wide for me to explain.

Yeah it's a messy film. And I think the ultimate lines between good (people) and evil (people) are too thick, too oversimplified. But there is a truth here. It may be an *emotional* truth. I suspect some men will dismiss it for that reason; I admit it frustrated me for that reason. But I don't think that frustration should cause us to ignore what we might learn if we really try to listen to the people for whom it resonates.

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