The Girl on the Train: Book and Film

*May contain spoilers*

While the book has its merits, I felt the film was able to better convey the thriller of the story.

To elaborate, the book does a good job in setting up the three main characters and how each of their own lives and stories intertwine with each other. Like with all well written books it has great description of setting. However, unless you know the region personally, ie England (where the book is set) it’s much harder to envison. If the film had kept the original setting, England, instead of “Hollywoodizing”(New York in this case), it may have been on par with the book.

To continue further with the visual notion, the film not only has this aspect but also the added bonus of audio. Not only do you hear the characters speak but a good film score adds incredible depth to a story played out on screen. This is especially true with thrillers, giving the added element of suspense and other deep emotions.

To be honest, I did see the film first, so many could put forward the obvious argument. However, I have read books before seeing their film versions and have had the same feeling of the film being better than the book. It can vary depending on the “hook” either the novel or film has. For some, it doesn’t matter which was experienced first, otherwise why would you bother with both in the first place?

The only other real qualm I had, was the nature of Rachel and Scott’s “relationship.” The longing to know how the story would possibly be better or worse or neutral if, in the film, they has slept together as they did in the book. Or as viewers, were we supposed to pick up on the implied notion they slept together when Scott spent the night at Rachel’s and we see her cuddled up next to him?

The other thing people tend to forget about is the “show don’t tell” rule. It’s especially important in film, that being a visual medium. The book does a good job in “showing” the reader the details we need to know, i.e. setting, character profile, etc.. I found the film did well in its adaptation, despite “Hollywoodizing” the setting.

The way in which the story goes back and forth telling each character’s point of view is excellently written. As a reader, I didn’t find that I got lost in the story or confused as to whose point of view I was reading about. As a viewer, I found the film does a great job in doing the same.

Only thing about the book I didn’t like was how Tom told the story of what happened to Megan. I quite prefer the film version, which shows a third person point of view, as Rachel recalls what she saw of what happened to Megan and how it all ties together.

Both are excellent pieces of thrilling art. I highly recommend them both, to the avid reader and moviegoer.


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