The Girl on the Train

The Girl on the Train Information

The Girl on the Train is a 2016 American mystery thriller drama film directed by Tate Taylor and written by Erin Cressida Wilson, based on Paula Hawkins' 2015 debut novel of the same name. The film stars Emily Blunt, Rebecca Ferguson, Haley Bennett, Justin Theroux, Luke Evans, Allison Janney, dgar Ramrez and Lisa Kudrow. The film follows an alcoholic divorce who becomes involved in a missing persons 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 Amblin Partners.

The film premiered in London on September 20, 2016 and was theatrically released in the United States on October 7, 2016. The film was a box office success, grossing $173 million worldwide but received mixed reviews. Blunt's performance received praise and gained a nomination at the 23rd Screen Actors Guild Awards, as well as a nomination for BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role at the 70th British Academy Film Awards.


Rachel Watson is an alcoholic who rides a train aimlessly since losing her job. From the train, she fixates on the lives of her former husband, Tom Watson, and his current wife, Anna, and their neighbors, Scott and Megan Hipwell, whom she idealizes. Megan worked for the Watsons as a nanny, but recently quit.

During her marriage, Rachel became depressed about her infertility and developed a drinking problem that has resulted in continual blackouts and destructive behavior. At a BBQ held by Tom's boss, she drunkenly made a scene and is blamed when Tom is fired.

From the train, Rachel spots Megan kissing a stranger and becomes infuriated at her ruining her marriage. She leaves to confront Megan, but hours later she wakes up in her bed, covered in blood.

Megan disappears and Rachel is questioned by Detective Riley because she was seen in the vicinity that day. Rachel contacts Scott, pretending to be a friend, to tell him about the affair. Scott pulls up a picture of Megan's psychiatrist Dr. Kamal Abdic, and Rachel identifies him as the man she saw. It is alluded to that Megan and Dr. Abdic were involved sexually.

Dr. Abdic told the police Scott was abusive and suspicion shifts to him. Believing Dr. Abdic is involved in Megan's disappearance, Rachel schedules an appointment with him, but discusses her own issues.

Megan is found dead and tests show she was pregnant, but that neither Scott nor Dr. Abdic were the father. Scott confronts Rachel for lying to him about knowing Megan and angrily grabs her. Rachel goes to report the assault, believing Scott murdered Megan, but the detective says he has been ruled out as a suspect.

On the train, Rachel sees Tom's former boss's wife Martha, and apologizes for her behavior, but Martha says she did nothing wrong. Tom had actually been fired for having sex with coworkers. Rachel realizes that Tom planted false memories in her head during her drinking binges.

Anna suspects Tom of cheating and finds a secret phone with text messages on it to another woman, who is revealed to be Megan when Anna calls and hears the voicemail. Rachel goes back to the tunnel and in a flash back remembers that she caught Tom meeting Megan that day, and that Tom attacked her, injuring her.

Rachel goes to warn Anna, and tells her Tom is dangerous and he killed Megan. Anna knows about the affair and when Tom arrives home, both women confront him with details of the affair with Megan. Tom knocks Rachel unconscious and in a flashback, it is revealed that Tom beat Megan to death when she announced her pregnancy and refused to get an abortion.

When Rachel awakens he tries to strangle her, but she gets away. Tom chases her and she stabs him in the neck with a corkscrew, and Anna twists it deeper into Tom's neck, killing him.

Rachel and Anna are interviewed by Detective Riley, and tell identical stories about killing Tom in self-defense, after he admitted to being Megan's killer. Later, a now sober Rachel sits on the opposite side of the train looking forward to the future.


  • Emily Blunt as Rachel Watson, a lonely alcoholic and Tom's ex-wife
  • Rebecca Ferguson as Anna Watson, a real estate agent and Tom's current wife
  • Haley Bennett as Megan Hipwell, Scott's wife
  • 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
  • dgar Ramrez 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. In early 2015, Erin Cressida Wilson was hired to write the script and Tate Taylor was hired to direct the film. Hawkins told The Sunday Times that the film's setting would be moved from London to Westchester, New York.


In June 2015, Emily Blunt was offered for the title role, the lonely and alcoholic divorcee Rachel. The studio had eyed Kate Mara for another of the three lead roles. 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.

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. However, Justin Theroux replaced Evans and Luke Evans replaced Leto, who both left the film due to scheduling issues. In October, dgar Ramrez joined the film to play Dr. Kamal Abdic, who is in an affair with the married Megan, and becomes a suspect in her disappearance. Allison Janney also joined the cast to play a police detective. The next month, Lisa Kudrow was cast as Martha, the wife of Tom's former boss. Laura Prepon joined the cast as Cathy, the landlord, roommate, and college friend of Rachel Watson.


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


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


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

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.

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


Box office

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.

In the United States and Canada, the film 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. It went on to gross $24.5 million in its opening weekend, finishing first at the box office. In its second weekend it grossed $12 million, finishing third at the box office.

Critical response

On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes the film has an approval rating of 45% based on 267 reviews, with an average rating of 5.4/10. 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." On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 48 out of 100, based on 49 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an grade of "B?" on an A+ to F scale.

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."

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".

Christy Lemire of gave 1 stars out of 4, and described the film as, "a flat and suspense-free tale of pretty people in peril".

Rolling Stones 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."


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

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