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The Girl on the Train Book vs Movie

Updated on January 22, 2017
Alec Zander profile image

Alec is a film critic with a true passion for the film industry & hopes his reviews and articles will help launch his career.

The Girl on the Train, written by Paula Hawkins, is a modern literary masterpiece that keeps the reader guessing throughout. The book made you feel all manner of emotions. At times you felt bad for the main character, Rachel, and at times you were disgusted by her. Of course, you can't really blame her for her behavior. She was cheated on, left, and tossed to the side while her now ex-husband has a baby with the woman he cheated with. No matter what Rachel's wild antics are, you cannot feel anything but dislike towards Tom, her ex. Anna, the new wife, is just as guilty in the matter but you do somewhat feel sorry for her. I can't...well, won't....divulge what happens but let's just say Anna is a victim too. The real victim however is Megan Hippwell, who goes missing after Rachel sees her with a man that most definitely was not her husband. Scott, Megan's husband, doesn't know what to make of it all. He wants his wife back but most of all, wants to tell her he's sorry because they had a fight right before she went missing.

So, how does the movie hold up against the book?

Well, it holds up very well, actually. The film didn't focus on Rachel's alcoholism, rather, it showed enough to where you knew she had a problem but nothing too graphic. The film focused on the main plot and that worked in its advantage. There's only so much a movie can show since it has a time limit, whereas, a book can divulge all manner of information and description because it has no time limit.

There was really only one main issue that I had with the movie. It's a small issue but for people that haven't read the book, they won't know what happened and where. See, in the book, Rachel's friend and landlady Cathy kicked her out because of the alcoholism. Later, Cathy takes pity on Rachel and lets her move back in as long as Rachel attended regular AA meetings and gave up drinking. The movie, however, left out any mention of Cathy after she initially kicks Rachel out, so by the end when Rachel leaves a note for Cathy, it's confusing as to why she would do so since Rachel was kicked out.

The movie did change the location from England to New York, which didn't make a difference, really. The story moved along just fine regardless, however, I'm unsure as to why the location change was necessary.

Overall, I was quite impressed with director Tate Taylor's interpretation of Paula Hawkins' novel, however, I do recommend the book over the film. The book has a gradual build up, adding tension and a slight paranoia to the readers' minds, whereas the movie had to hurry along. Definitely read the book before seeing the film.

Book score: 4 out of 4.
Movie score: 3.5 out of 4.

You can see my Movie Review here:

© 2016 Alec Zander


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    • Alec Zander profile image

      Alec Zander 12 months ago from Sylva, NC


      I don't see how they were confused. The book labels each new section with the character that's speaking. It's not at all difficult to follow. I completely recommend you read the book before seeing the movie because the book builds suspense and makes you suspect literally every character. The movie had to move along rather quickly but I was still impressed with how well done it was.

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      MizPamRoxx 12 months ago


      TY for explaining the Book vs. the Movie, as several of my friends were confused with the book. Some of them said that the book changes POV, as each character is introduced. It was confusing.

      Haven't read the book, but was curious if I should devote the time (as my Reading Stack is about 5 feet tall)! Thx, Pam