"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 the popular 2015 debut novel of the same name by British author Paula Hawkins. Director Tate Taylor cleverly uses the train not just as a means of transport, but as a vessel that embodies the protagonist's turmoil. Emily Blunt's portrayal of Rachel Watson, an alcoholic divorcee caught up in a web of secrets, unfolds against the backdrop of her daily commute to New York City after losing her job and marriage.
The train serves as Rachel's voyeuristic window into the lives of a seemingly perfect couple, Megan and Scott Hipwell, whose house she passes every day. She slowly becomes obsessed with a couple on the street, and this obsession becomes dangerous when she becomes involved in an investigation into the wife's disappearance. The train becomes a conduit for Rachel's vivid imagination, blurring the lines between reality and her own fragmented perceptions. Each journey fuels her obsession with their seemingly idyllic relationship.
As the plot thickens and Rachel becomes embroiled in a missing persons investigation, the train becomes an essential narrative device. Its rhythmic movement and fleeting glimpses through the windows parallel Rachel's search for the truth, with each stop revealing layers of the enigmatic mystery.
- While the novel is set in London, the filmmakers chose to set the thriller in and around Manhattan.
- Much of the film was shot on a real train on Metro North's scenic Hudson Line, which runs from Manhattan to Westchester, Putnam and Dutchess counties.
- The team also built a replica of the train on a soundstage, surrounded by a green screen, to give them more freedom and control over shots and camera placement.