It’s quite possible that Rotten Tomatoes has completely changed the way we see movies. Many people, myself included, will look up a movie the week it comes out, and if it receives a score of less than 60%, think twice about skipping out on it. That icon of a squashed tomato is small, yet extremely powerful.
So when I saw that one of the movies I was most excited to see this fall had received less-than-stellar reviews, I looked at my phone in horror.
The sight of that score was enough to keep me out of the movie theater when The Girl on the Train, based on the novel by Paula Hawkins, debuted Oct. 7. I was in the middle of reading the book, and told myself I should hold off until I finished it. But in reality, I was just trying to keep myself from being utterly disappointed. The book is brilliant, the film is full of amazing actors, but I figured there must be something terrible about it in order for it to receive such a low rating.
This past weekend, I finally decided to clear my mind of critics’ opinions and see the movie. I went in without any expectations, and it was the most freeing film experience I’ve had in quite some time.
For anyone else who has some reservations about seeing the film, there are only a few things you should know before buying a ticket.
First of all, if you’re an avid fan of the book, you will still be able to see this movie without getting bored. This film is full of techniques that are guaranteed to make you feel uncomfortable and anxious. There are a great deal of close-ups and scenes that are so quiet that you can hear a pin drop. It’s very likely that your heart rate will be above normal at least a few times during the film, whether you know what’s coming or not.
I won’t say much about the actors’ performances, but I will warn you that this movie shows Emily Blunt in a very different light from what we’re used to. Her character, Rachel, is an alcoholic who will break your heart and make you cringe at the same time. The film also stars Justin Theroux, Luke Evans, Edgar Ramirez, Rebecca Ferguson and Haley Bennett, who each have the acting expertise that is necessary to bring their characters to life.
It should be noted that when it comes to movies that are based on books, the movie is always seen as the weaker of the two. If something in the movie is different from the novel, there are plenty of people who will have a problem with it.
Fans of the book must remember that it is incredibly hard for a movie that is less than two hours to perfectly emulate a book that is over 300 pages. Here’s the truth: there are a lot of differences between this film and the book, and some of them are pretty obvious. Nevertheless, if you go into the film thinking of it as complimentary to the book instead of some page-by-page replica, you will definitely enjoy it more.
All in all, anyone who goes into a movie without knowing what its reviews are like is doing it right. Sure, some movies can be terribly disappointing, and we will walk out wishing we hadn’t wasted our money on them. However, when it comes to a thriller such as The Girl on the Train, the only way you will have the full experience is by watching it without your head full of critiques you read the night before.
If you are on the fence about seeing this film, do yourself a favor and see it without any predictions of how you’ll feel when the lights come up. Trust me, you’ll be pleasantly surprised.