The Girl on the Train (2016 film)

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The Girl on the Train
Film poster with the tagline, "what you see can hurt you"
Theatrical release poster
Directed byTate Taylor
Screenplay byErin Cressida Wilson
Based onThe Girl on the Train
by Paula Hawkins
Produced by
CinematographyCharlotte Bruus Christensen
Edited by
Music byDanny Elfman
Distributed byUniversal Pictures (Worldwide)
Mister Smith Entertainment[1] (EMEA)
Release dates
Running time
112 minutes[2]
CountryUnited States
Budget$45–50 million[3][4]
Box office$173.2 million[5]

The Girl on the Train is a 2016 American mystery psychological thriller film directed by Tate Taylor and written by Erin Cressida Wilson, based on British author Paula Hawkins' popular 2015 debut novel of the same name. The film stars Emily Blunt, Rebecca Ferguson, Haley Bennett, Justin Theroux, Luke Evans, Allison Janney, Édgar Ramírez, and Lisa Kudrow. The film follows an alcoholic divorcée who becomes involved in a missing person investigation.

Principal photography began on November 4, 2015, in New York City. Produced by Marc Platt and DreamWorks Pictures, The Girl on the Train was the first film to be distributed by Universal Pictures as part of DreamWorks' new distribution deal via the company Amblin Partners.[6]

The Girl on the Train premiered in London on September 20, 2016, before it was theatrically released in the United States on October 7, 2016.[7] The film was a box office success, grossing $173 million worldwide. It received mixed reviews, but Blunt's performance received critical acclaim, as well as nominations for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role at the 23rd Screen Actors Guild Awards and the BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role at the 70th British Academy Film Awards. A Hindi-language remake of the same name was released in 2021, with Bollywood actress Parineeti Chopra in the starring role.


Rachel Watson is a recovering alcoholic who aimlessly rides a train into New York City every day after losing her job and her marriage. From the train, she fixates on the lives of her ex-husband Tom, his new wife Anna, and their neighbors, Scott and Megan Hipwell; Megan worked for Tom and Anna as a nanny for their baby, Evie, but had recently quit.

During her marriage to Tom, Rachel became depressed about her infertility and developed a drinking problem which led to continual blackouts and destructive behavior. At a barbecue held by Tom's boss, she drunkenly made a scene and Tom was later fired because of it. Now, while intoxicated, Rachel often harasses Tom and Anna, calling them repeatedly throughout the day, though she has little memory of this once she sobers up.

On the way home one afternoon, Rachel becomes infuriated when she spots Megan kissing a stranger. She goes to confront Megan but awakes in her own bed hours later, covered in blood. Megan is reported missing and Rachel is questioned by Detective Riley because she was seen in the vicinity that day. Rachel contacts Scott, posing as Megan's friend, to tell him about the affair. He shows her a picture of Dr. Kamal Abdic, Megan's psychiatrist, whom Rachel identifies as the man she saw kissing Megan. As a result, Abdic is questioned as a suspect but tells the police that Scott was emotionally abusive toward Megan, and suspicion shifts to him.

Believing Abdic is involved in Megan's disappearance, Rachel schedules an appointment with him, but she winds up discussing her own emotional issues. Abdic recalls a session with Megan in which she revealed she had a baby when she was very young. The baby accidentally drowned in the bathtub and Megan never forgave herself for it. Megan is found dead and tests reveal she was pregnant, but neither Scott nor Abdic was the father. Scott enters Rachel's house and aggressively confronts her for lying to him about knowing Megan, directing the police toward Abdic, and leaving him as the new prime suspect. Rachel tries to report the assault to the police, believing Scott's violence suggests he may have murdered Megan, but Riley says that he has been ruled out as a suspect as there is CCTV footage of him at a bar at the time.

On the train, Rachel sees Martha, the wife of Tom's former boss, and apologizes for her behavior at the barbecue where she believes she broke a platter, threw food, and insulted Martha; the latter says she did nothing wrong, and it is revealed that Tom had been fired for having sex with co-workers. Rachel realizes that Tom planted false memories in her head during her drinking binges, and was also physically violent toward her during her blackouts, which accounts for the injuries she had when she awoke. Meanwhile, Anna suspects Tom of cheating and secretly finds a cell phone hidden in their house; a voicemail reveals that the phone belonged to Megan.

A now sober Rachel remembers that on the day of Megan's disappearance, she caught Megan meeting Tom, and he hit her when she tried to confront them. Realizing that Tom killed Megan when she refused to abort his baby, Rachel warns Anna, who is already aware. When both women confront Tom, he becomes angry, tries to force Rachel to drink alcohol again, throws the drink at her face, and then knocks her unconscious. When Rachel awakens, she flees for the front door but it is locked. Tom tries to strangle her as Anna watches from the top of the stairs, guarding Evie. Rachel doubles back through the kitchen and picks up a corkscrew. Outside, Tom grabs her and—as she turns—she stabs him in the neck with the corkscrew. Anna then appears and twists it deeper into Tom's neck, killing him and avenging Megan's death. Interviewed by Riley, Rachel and Anna tell identical stories about killing Tom in self-defense after he admitted that he was Megan's killer. Anna admits that Rachel had been right about everything.

Later, Rachel visits Megan's tombstone at a cemetery and states: "We are tied forever now, the three of us, bound forever by the story we shared." Later, she sits on the opposite side of the train, hopeful for a new life.


  • Emily Blunt as Rachel Watson, a lonely and alcoholic divorcée
  • Rebecca Ferguson as Anna Watson, a real-estate agent and Tom's wife
  • Haley Bennett as Megan Hipwell, Anna and Tom's nanny
  • Justin Theroux as Tom Watson, Rachel's ex-husband and Anna's current husband
  • Luke Evans as Scott Hipwell, Megan's husband
  • Allison Janney as DS. Riley, a detective
  • Édgar Ramírez as Dr. Kamal Abdic, Megan's psychiatrist
  • Lisa Kudrow as Martha, the wife of Tom's former boss
  • Laura Prepon as Cathy, Rachel's college friend, roommate, and landlord
  • Darren Goldstein as "Man in the Suit", a stranger who witnesses Rachel's behavior



DreamWorks Pictures acquired the film rights to Hawkins' novel and the film was planned for production by Marc E. Platt (through Marc Platt Productions) in March 2014.[8] In early 2015, Erin Cressida Wilson was hired to write the script[9] and Tate Taylor was hired to direct the film.[10] Hawkins told The Sunday Times that the film's setting would be moved from London to Westchester, New York.[11]


In June 2015, Emily Blunt was offered the title role of the lonely and alcoholic divorcée Rachel.[12] The studio had eyed Kate Mara for another of the three lead roles.[12] In August, Rebecca Ferguson was confirmed to play Anna and Haley Bennett was added to the cast to play the third female lead role, Megan.[13][14]

Jared Leto and Chris Evans were in talks to join the film, where Evans would play Tom, Rachel's ex-husband, and Leto would play the neighbor's husband.[15] However, Justin Theroux replaced Evans and Luke Evans replaced Leto, who both left the film due to scheduling issues.[16][17] In October, Édgar Ramírez joined the film to play Dr. Kamal Abdic, who is having an affair with the married Megan, and becomes a suspect in her disappearance.[18] Allison Janney also joined the cast to play a police detective.[19] The next month, Lisa Kudrow was cast as Martha, the wife of Tom's former boss.[20] Laura Prepon joined the cast as Cathy, the landlord, roommate, and college friend of Rachel Watson.[21]


A view of an ornate structure with railroad tracks and a modern elevated platform and metallic structure in the foreground
The Ardsley-on-Hudson Metro-North station, used for several scenes in the film

Principal photography on the film began on November 4, 2015, in New York City.[22] In late November 2015, filming also took place in White Plains,[23] as well as in Hastings-on-Hudson and Irvington, New York.[24] Filming wrapped up on January 30, 2016.[25]


During post-production on the film, a cameo appearance by Paula Hawkins was cut from the film.[26]


In November 2015, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures scheduled the film for an October 7, 2016, release through their Touchstone Pictures banner.[27][28][29]

The film was part of DreamWorks' distribution deal with Walt Disney Studios, which began in 2009. However, DreamWorks and Disney did not renew their distribution deal, and in December 2015, Universal Pictures acquired the film's distribution rights, as part of their new distribution deal with DreamWorks' parent company, Amblin Partners.[30]

Universal retained Disney's original release date.[7] Universal also distributed overseas, except in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, where distribution was handled by Mister Smith Entertainment through other distributors.[28][1] Entertainment One released the film in the United Kingdom on October 5, 2016.[2]


Box office[edit]

The Girl on the Train grossed $75.4 million in the United States and Canada and $97.8 million in other countries for a worldwide total of $173.2 million, against a production budget of $45 million.[5]

In the United States and Canada, the film was released alongside The Birth of a Nation and Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life, and was projected to gross around $25–30 million in its opening weekend, with some having it opening to as low as $18 million. The film was expected to play like the similarly themed Gone Girl, which opened to $37.5 million in October 2014, although that film had more star power to carry it.[31][32] It went on to gross $24.5 million in its opening weekend, finishing first at the box office.[33] In its second weekend it grossed $12 million, finishing third at the box office.[34]

Critical response[edit]

On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, The Girl on the Train has an approval rating of 44% based on 307 reviews, with an average rating of 5.30/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Emily Blunt's outstanding performance isn't enough to keep The Girl on the Train from sliding sluggishly into exploitative melodrama."[35] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 48 out of 100, based on 49 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[36] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film a grade of "B−" on an A+ to F scale.[33]

IGN critic Terri Schwartz gave the film a score of 5.5/10, writing: "The Girl on the Train has a talented cast, but ultimately squanders it for the sake of a hollow, ponderous plot. Alternately overly convoluted and predictable, the film relies too heavily on its twists while offering little in the way of character development, leaving its three central women as unrelatable and unlikable stereotypes."[37] Rolling Stone's Peter Travers gave the film a positive review, commenting that: "[T]he movie gives away the game faster than the novel, but Emily Blunt digs so deep into the role of a blackout drunk and maybe murderer that she raises Girl to the level of spellbinder."[38]

Chicago Sun-Times' Richard Roeper gave 2 stars out 4, and said that the film is "shiny trash that begins with promise but quickly gets tripped up by its own screenplay and grows increasingly ludicrous and melodramatic, to the point where I was barely able to suppress a chuckle at some of the final scenes".[39] Christy Lemire of gave 1+12 stars out of 4, and described the film as, "a flat and suspense-free tale of pretty people in peril".[40]


Award Date of ceremony Category Recipient(s) and nominee(s) Result Ref.
British Academy Film Awards February 12, 2017 Best Actress in a Leading Role Emily Blunt Nominated [41]
Hollywood Film Awards November 6, 2016 Hollywood Producer Award Marc Platt (also for Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk and La La Land) Won [42]
Location Managers Guild Awards April 8, 2017 Outstanding Film Commission Award New York State Governor's Office of Motion Picture Development Nominated [43]
Make-Up Artists and Hair Stylists Guild February 19, 2017 Feature-Length Motion Picture – Contemporary Hair Styling Alan D'Angerio Nominated [44]
People's Choice Awards January 18, 2017 Favorite Thriller Movie The Girl on the Train Won [45]
Saturn Awards June 28, 2017 Best Thriller Film The Girl on the Train Nominated [46]
Best Actress Emily Blunt Nominated
Screen Actors Guild Awards January 29, 2017 Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role Emily Blunt Nominated [47]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b McNary, Dave (November 4, 2016). "AFM: Mister Smith Pacts Power its Picture Pipeline". Variety. Retrieved 18 June 2020.
  2. ^ a b "THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN (15)". British Board of Film Classification. September 13, 2016. Retrieved September 13, 2016.
  3. ^ "2016 Feature Film Study" (PDF). FilmL.A. Feature Film Study. Film L.A.: 25 May 23, 2017. Retrieved August 14, 2018.
  4. ^ "Film Tax Credit – Quarterly Report Calendar Year 2017: Second Quarter" (PDF). Empire State Development. June 30, 2017.
  5. ^ a b "The Girl on the Train (2016)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved March 10, 2017.
  6. ^ Pamela McClintock; Gregg Kilday (December 16, 2015). "Steven Spielberg, Jeff Skoll Team to Form Ambling Partners, Strike Distribution Deal With Universal". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved January 25, 2022.
  7. ^ a b McNary, Dave (December 16, 2015). "Universal Boards Emily Blunt's 'Girl on the Train'". Variety. Retrieved December 23, 2015.
  8. ^ Kroll, Justin (March 24, 2014). "DreamWorks Acquires Novel 'The Girl on the Train' for Marc Platt". Retrieved June 3, 2015.
  9. ^ Jaafar, Ali (January 13, 2015). "Erin Cressida Wilson Boards 'Girl On The Train' For Marc Platt & Dreamworks". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved June 3, 2015.
  10. ^ Kit, Borys (May 21, 2015). "Tate Taylor to Direct 'The Girl on the Train' for DreamWorks". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved January 25, 2022.
  11. ^ Brooks, Richard (July 11, 2015). "Hollywood shunts British bestseller over to New York". The Times. Retrieved January 25, 2022.
  12. ^ a b Sneider, Jeff (June 4, 2015). "Emily Blunt in Talks to Star in Tate Taylor's 'The Girl on the Train' for DreamWorks". The Wrap. Retrieved August 19, 2015.
  13. ^ Fleming, Mike Jr. (August 18, 2015). "'Mission: Impossible's Rebecca Ferguson Catches 'The Girl On The Train'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved August 19, 2015.
  14. ^ Fleming, Mike Jr. (August 24, 2015). "Haley Bennett Lands Lead In 'The Girl On The Train'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved August 26, 2015.
  15. ^ Kit, Borys (September 21, 2015). "Jared Leto, Chris Evans Circling 'The Girl on the Train'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved January 25, 2022.
  16. ^ Kit, Borys; Ford, Rebecca (October 27, 2015). "Justin Theroux in Talks to Board 'Girl on the Train'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved January 25, 2022.
  17. ^ Kit, Borys (November 4, 2015). "Luke Evans Lands Key Role in DreamWorks' 'The Girl on the Train'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved January 25, 2022.
  18. ^ Patten, Dominic (October 22, 2015). "Edgar Ramirez In Talks To Join 'The Girl On The Train'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved November 7, 2015.
  19. ^ Kroll, Justin (October 28, 2015). "Allison Janney Boards 'Girl on the Train'". Variety. Retrieved November 7, 2015.
  20. ^ Kit, Borys (November 3, 2015). "Lisa Kudrow Joins 'The Girl on the Train'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved January 25, 2022.
  21. ^ Patten, Dominic (January 7, 2016). "'Girl On The Train' Adds 'Orange Is The New Black's Laura Prepon". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved January 8, 2016.
  22. ^ "On the Set for 11/6/15: Emily Blunt and Luke Evans Start 'Girl on the Train', Brad Pitt Wraps 'Lost City of Z'". November 6, 2015. Archived from the original on June 10, 2017. Retrieved November 7, 2015.
  23. ^ "'The Girl on the Train', starring Emily Blunt, filming locations in White Plains, NY". November 19, 2015. Retrieved December 8, 2015.
  24. ^ Branch, Alfred (January 6, 2016). "'The Girl on the Train' Continues Film Shoot in Irvington". Patch. Retrieved January 8, 2016.
  25. ^ "On the Set for 1/29/16: Danny Glover Starts on 'The Good Catholic', Emily Blunt and Luke Evans Wrap 'Girl on the Train'". SSN Insider. January 29, 2016. Archived from the original on June 11, 2017. Retrieved January 30, 2016.
  26. ^ Biedenharn, Isabella (August 25, 2016). "The Girl on the Train: Why Paula Hawkins didn't want to write the screenplay". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved August 25, 2016.
  27. ^ Gettel, Oliver (October 27, 2015). "The Girl on the Train with Emily Blunt set for fall 2016 release". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved November 6, 2015.
  28. ^ a b Mendelson, Scott (October 28, 2015). "Disney Pits Emily Blunt, Rebecca Ferguson Thriller 'Girl On The Train' Vs. Channing Tatum's 'Gambit'". Forbes. Retrieved November 6, 2015.
  29. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (October 27, 2015). "'The Girl On The Train' Sets Arrival Date". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved November 5, 2015.
  30. ^ Pamela McClintock; Gregg Kilday (December 16, 2015). "Steven Spielberg, Jeff Skoll Team to Form Amblin Partners, Strike Distribution Deal With Universal". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved January 25, 2022.
  31. ^ Anthony D'Alessandro (August 29, 2016). "Forget About Summer & Sequelitis: Will Fall's Crowded Pipeline Cannibalize B.O.? – Box Office". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved August 30, 2016.
  32. ^ Dave McNary (October 2, 2016). "'Birth of a Nation' and 'Girl on the Train' Hit Box Office Tracking: How Will They Fare?". Variety. Retrieved October 2, 2016.
  33. ^ a b D'Alessandro, Anthony (October 10, 2016). "Hurricane Matthew Doesn't Slow 'Girl On The Train', But Overall Ticket Sales Lower Than Jonas; Controversy Conquers 'Nation'". Deadline Hollywood.
  34. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (October 17, 2016). "'The Accountant' Calculates $24.7M Opening; 'Max Steel' Rusts". Deadline Hollywood.
  35. ^ "The Girl on the Train (2016)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved February 15, 2021.
  36. ^ "The Girl on the Train Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved October 11, 2016.
  37. ^ Schwartz, Terri (October 5, 2016). "The Girl on the Train Review". IGN. Retrieved October 10, 2016.
  38. ^ Travers, Peter (October 4, 2016). "'Girl on the Train' Review: Emily Blunt Powers Sex-Lies-and-Murder Mystery". Rolling Stone.
  39. ^ "'The Girl on the Train': Ludicrous thriller goes off the rails". Chicago Sun-Times. October 5, 2016.
  40. ^ Lemire, Christy (October 7, 2016). "The Girl on the Train". Retrieved October 10, 2016.
  41. ^ Ritman, Alex (January 9, 2017). "BAFTA Awards: 'La La Land' Leads Nominations". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved January 25, 2022.
  42. ^ "Tom Ford, Marc Platt & Kenneth Lonergan to be Honored". Hollywood Film Awards. October 19, 2016. Retrieved November 2, 2016.
  43. ^ Petski, Denise (22 February 2017). "'Hidden Figures', 'La La Land' Among Location Managers Guild Award Nominees". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved February 22, 2017.
  44. ^ Petski, Denise (2017-01-11). "'Fantastic Beasts', 'La La Land' Among Make-Up Artists & Hair Stylists Guild Awards Nominees". Deadline. Retrieved 2017-01-11.
  45. ^ "People's Choice Awards Nominees 2017 — Full List". Deadline Hollywood. November 15, 2016. Retrieved November 15, 2016.
  46. ^ McNary, Dave (March 2, 2017). "Saturn Awards Nominations 2017: 'Rogue One,' 'Walking Dead' Lead". Variety. Retrieved March 3, 2017.
  47. ^ "SAG Awards 2017: The Complete List of Nominations". The Hollywood Reporter. December 14, 2016. Retrieved January 25, 2022.

External links[edit]