Paula Hawkins’s runaway successful novel The Girl on the Train is part of a new genre called ‘Mom Noir’, along with Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl and a number of other titles like The Woman in the Cabin or The Girl in the Red Coat. This new genre follows hot and heavy on the heels of ‘Mom Porn’ with the Fifty Shades of Grey series and The Twilight saga. The numbers are always touted when talking about such literary phenomena. The biggest selling, chart-breaking, hyperbole. What is less celebrated is the quality of the books themselves. Read on…
The film adaptation of Hawkins’s book was fast tracked to the screen in a little over twenty-one months. The cinematic precedents for the story are quite clear, and the author cheerfully admits that The Girl on the Train was prompted by Alfred Hitchcock’s film Rear Window. All the usual suspects are there: a pretty dead woman, a shifty husband, and a fragile, somewhat unreliable central character. The book’s strength was how it assembled these elements, and then threw them into new narrative patterns.
The novel also made good use of gas lighting. The term, brought into common parlance by two film versions of Patrick Hamilton’s play Gaslight, has come to mean a psychological form of manipulation in which a person is convinced that they are losing their mind. Herein the film version has its work cut out for it, as fans of the novel already know the big reveal at the end of the line. So, the pleasure will be derived from the combination of different cinematic pieces. Emily Blunt may be a little too beautiful to the play the central character, but Ms. Blunt possesses an uncanny ability to disappear inside of a role. Director Tate Taylor also knows his way around a literary adaptation, having directed The Help, adapted from Kathryn Stockett’s novel of the same title. So, we will see. The early success of Gone Girl, film and novel, have already laid the tracks, as it were. So all aboard, the murder and mayhem express!
AWFJ Movie of the Week Panelists Comments:
Liz Whittemore: The Girl on the Train, written by Erin Cressida Wilson, is destined to be a hit. I personally devoured the book in three days. If the screenplay is in anyway similar, you will be guessing until the very last scene. With Emily Blunt at the helm, you can count on a quality performance. The trailer alone gives me high hopes that yet another female-centric thriller will win big at the box office. If you have not yet read the novel, I suggest you go out and get grab a copy ASAP. You will be in for a cat and mouse game that will not disappoint.
Thelma Adams: The Girl on the Train – because it’s about a girl. On a train. Based on a bestseller written by a woman that broke through on its own merits and is still selling. And stars the fabulous, intelligent, well-read Emily Blunt.
Title: The Girl on the Train
Director: Tate Taylor
Release Date: October 7, 2016
Running Time: 112 minutes
Principal Cast: Emily Blunt, Rebecca Ferguson, Haley Bennett, Justin Theroux, Luke Evans, Allison Janney, Lisa Kudrow, Laura Prepon
Screenwriter: Erin Cressida Wilson
Production Companies: DreamWorks Pictures, Reliance Entertainment, Marc Platt Productions
Distributor: Universal Pictures
AWFJ Movie of the Week Panel Members: Thelma Adams, Nikki Baughan, Anne Brodie, Candice Frederick, Pam Grady, Leba Hertz, Loren King, Cate Marquis, Jennifer Merin, Nell Minow, Perri Nemiroff, Liz Whittemore, Jeanne Wolf
Edited by Sandra Kraisirideja, AWFJ.org Associate Editor. Written by Dorothy Woodend