Paula Hawkins' mystery novel The Girl On The Train was optioned for a movie before it even hit bookstores. And once you've read it, you can see why any studio who saw Gone Girl take off would think a film adaptation of this story would be a slam dunk. The Girl On The Train is in theaters Oct. 7. Want to know exactly what you're getting into before you see the movie? Read on for spoilers from The Girl On The Train . I'll be covering all the major reveals, so escape now if you want to stay pure.
But first, let's set the scene and see why this book was such an attractive adaptation property. The Girl On The Train has several complex female characters at its core, including protagonist Rachel Watson (Emily Blunt), an alcoholic divorcee moving through her sad life with vodka in her water bottle and her ex-husband's number on her speed dial. There's also Anna Watson (Rebecca Ferguson), the woman with whom Rachel's husband Tom (Justine Theroux) cheated and eventually left Rachel for. She's a new mom, blissful in all things but Rachel's continued presence in their lives. And finally, you have Megan Hipwell (Haley Bennett): Anna and Tom's nanny; wife to Scott (Luke Evans); and the "perfect" woman Rachel spies on from the train she rides aimlessly everyday. Rachel gets drunk and loses hours the night that Megan disappears. This provides both the book's mystery and the unreliable narrator to tell it. So...what happens next?
Megan Had A Child Once
Megan reveals something to her psychologist Dr. Abdic that even her husband doesn't know. She became pregnant as a teenager and loved her child very much. The baby died in a tragic accident that was essentially Megan's fault. This is why she doesn't want children with Scott and finds it difficult to connect with Anna and Tom's baby.
Megan Is Also Dead
Megan's body turns up. Murdered, of course. Rachel is questioned by authorities since she was seen in the area the night Megan left her home for good. She begins to question herself too, because Rachel remembers how upset she was to see "perfect" Megan with another man. Also: all that blood.
Tom Was Having An Affair With Megan
Anna's mother never told her never-fail mistress adage: if he cheats with you; he'll cheat on you. Anna finds proof that her husband was one of the lovers Megan took to try to make herself feel alive again. Around the same time, an autopsy shows that Megan was pregnant when she died. Neither her husband or Dr. Abdic are the father.
Rachel Discovers Tom Was Gaslighting Her
Rachel begins to see Dr. Abdic to do her own digging into the man, but eventually realizes some truths she had hidden from herself. She explains to the doctor that Tom used to tell her about all the terrible things that she did when she blacked out from drinking, which only exacerbated the alcohol problem that started after they failed to conceive a child. Tom was gaslighting Rachel about her drinking. He embellished and lied. Flashes of his own anger and physical abuse come back to her.
Tom Killed Megan When She Told Him She Was Pregnant
Rachel also remembers seeing Megan with Tom the night she got off the train. Tom hit Rachel, which is where the blood came from. Tired of his coldness, Megan threatens Tom that she'll expose their affair with the baby serving as absolute proof. He kills her.
Rachel Kills Tom When He Attacks Her
Rachel tries to warn Anna about Tom. What she says lines up with what Anna has already found out about his cheating. Tom comes at Rachel in a rage. Anna stays back, timid and protective of her baby. Rachel stabs Tom in the neck with a corkscrew. (Symbolism!) Once he's incapacitated, Anna approaches and pushes the object in further. The women corroborate each other's stories to the police, and go on to become a vigilante crime-fighting duo. (That last part isn't true...yet. Where's my sequel?)
Even if the plot won't be a surprise to you, The Girl On The Train is worth seeing for Emily Blunt's visceral and terrific performance as Rachel and for the fact that it's a feminist thriller that depicts insidious emotional abuse and gaslighting, if in a heightened, pulpy way.
Image: Universal Pictures