Sunday 12 February 2017

Film vs. Novel: The Girl On The Train

Title: The Girl On The Train
Author: Paula Hawkins
Publication Date: January 13th, 2015
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Rachel catches the same commuter train every morning. She knows it will wait at the same signal each time, overlooking a row of back gardens. She's even started to feel like she knows the people who live in one of the houses. Their life - as she sees it - is perfect. If only Rachel could be happy.

And then she sees something shocking, and in one moment everything changes. Now Rachel has a chance to become. part of the lives she's only watched from afar.

Now they'll see: she's much more than jut the girl on the train ...


Between the book and the film, I can easily say that I found the movie to be a better experience in appreciating the story and its characters. I know, scandalous. I wouldn't exactly say the movie is better than the book, but that the method in delivering the story was more suited for me.

I struggled to engage with the plot and the characters because of the narration of the novel. It's written in first person, through the three female protagonists, in a stream of consciousness type of way. However, for the most part I found it to be stagnant and dry. I couldn't really relate to any of them and because of it being in first person, they were all so unreliable that I just didn't like any of them. For me, at least, I found the characters to be vehicles that drove the story rather than individuals with a story to tell (if that makes any sense). In saying that, the ending was gripping and I definitely did not expect the plot twist at the end. It made the novel worth the read, which was a relief. 

I preferred the movie for it's storytelling and acting. The events are told through flashbacks and voiceovers done by the characters, whilst the storyline progresses, which I liked. It made it more suspenseful and as a viewer I felt like I was right next to the characters, trying to figure out the mystery of the disappearance as well. Rachel, Anna and Megan also felt more alive. This is definitely due to having actresses play them, but the acting really made me believe that they were real life people recounting their stories. I actually empathised with them a lot, as opposed to despising them like I did in the book. All three are bound by a significant moment, but their past and present are marred by horrendous events that make them flawed in such saddening ways. 


The Girl On The Train is still worth the read. Even though I enjoyed the movie more, I appreciated the novel for providing me minor details around the plot and characters that the movie didn't have. In particular the character Scott I found to be portrayed in such a bad light in the movie. You learn more about him in the book. Definitely watch the movie though. I really did like it.

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