Sunday, October 16, 2016

"The Girl on the Train" movie

Hmmm.... maybe "The Girl on the Train" wasn't the wisest pick for a movie to see on Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Day??  :p   I'd read the book, and the movie version looked good, and came out about a week ago. Dh (having sat with me through "Gone Girl," lol) was not interested but SIL was, so we went together on Saturday night and then to dinner together afterwards, just the two of us. It's been a long time since I had a chicks outing like that. Much as I love spending time with dh, sometimes it's nice to get out & do things with your girlfriends, you know?

Anyway, I had read the book a while back (reviewed here) -- and while I did remember that the central figure, Rachel, was unhappily childless, I didn't remember just how central infertility, loss and motherhood (and the conflict between mothers and childless women) were to the plot. I had to struggle to keep my emotions (& my tears) in check in several scenes. I still enjoyed the movie overall -- aside from moving the location from London to New York, it was quite faithful to the book, beautifully filmed -- and I thought Emily Blunt was brilliant as Rachel -- but it still does bother me that she's such a pathetic figure -- one that's (sadly)(still!!) entirely too common in pop culture/media portrayals of childless women. Apparently infertility & childlessness can drive you to drink, divorce, unemployment, homelessness, stalking, and maybe even murder -- who knew, right?? :p  (Although (spoiler alert!) Rachel is sort of vindicated in the end.)

I think we childless women deserve a whole lot better.


  1. I do want to read the book, but based on your post about the book and then the trailer, I've been weary of the movie. The idea that a childless and infertile woman is so pathetic and crazy really bothers me, because it's a huge myth. More interesting would have been fleshing out the woman the ex-husband cheated on Rachel with (she seems full of paranoia). I can see how this would be a hard movie.

  2. I wrote (or, at least I think I wrote unless I only wrote it in my head) a post about this book awhile back because the way she was portrayed (as well as the fact that women are often called girls whereas men are never called boys). It feels like an infantilization of women without living children. And I read a string of books like that (almost all of them with "girl" in the title) in a row.

  3. Hi Loribeth I felt I had to go and see The Girl On The Train just to see how she was portrayed. I thought Emily Blunt did a good job at not making her seem too barmy, and I was moved by the scene with the therapist where she describes her heart being broken by the infertility. However, I hated the scene (as I did in the book) where she sneaks into the house and "steals" the baby and stands in the garden with her looking deranged. For god's sake. What percentage of women doing IVF or diagnosed infertile want to actually take another woman's baby like that? I only speak for myself here, but for me it was a much more abstract thing: I absolutely did not have any cravings to touch or hold stranger's babies and I feel embarrassed at the notion that people might think that I want to steal their babies just to sniff their heads or something. I mean: ugh. I thought that scene took things too far. Pretending to go to work every day is also a step too far. But overall, excellent acting from Blunt.
    I would definitely like to see a non-crazy portrayal of a childless or childfree woman. They could easily have done this with Naomi Watts in the film While We're Young, by allowing her to live happily without kids. It's about time they made one. Helen Fielding let down the more than 50% of women in the UK who are single by ending with the baby and the big wedding, as if to say "Phew! Like Bridget you too might just make it and get a baby at the eleventh hour before you are completely desiccated". Bite me.

  4. I read the book but haven't seen the movie yet. I didn't like how she was portrayed as so bitter as that's certainly not a nice side to women dealing with infertility but overall I was sympathetic towards her character and could understand how she could be driven to drink! The other women in my book club just found her character totally pathetic, weak and unlikable though!