Have you seen Megan Hipwell?
I first was introduced to the book this film is based on by Goodreads. Everywhere I looked they promoted the book and kept recommending it to me.
They were constantly attacking me trying to get me to read it. That kind of pressure actually made me not want to read it at all.
But then I saw the film coming out and decided that I would like to read the book before seeing the film. I figured out who the murderer was, but thought the book was pretty well written.
So before we start with the film review, let’s give a bit of background on the book. So the theme of the book is that you never really know a person, there is a lot more than meets the eye.
So the book is told by three female narrators who are completely unreliable.
1) First we have Rachel Watson. Rachel is bitter, obsessed, and an alcoholic. We want to like her and believe in her, feeling for the wrongs that have been committed against her, but at the same time we can’t trust her. First of all Rachel is an alcoholic who continually blacks out when she gets drunk and never knows what actually happens. Besides that, Rachel admits that she has an overactive imagination so we never know what she does remember or see to really be what she says or whether it is made up in her head.
2) Secondly we have Anna Watson. Anna was a real estate agent by day, party girl by night. When she met Tom Watson, Rachel’s husband at the time, she wanted him; became the other woman; got pregnant and became the new wife. She dislikes Rachel and the disruption she brings as she continually plagues their life. As Anna is willing to do all she can to get rid of Rachel, can we actually believe what she says about her or is it just jealousy?
3) Last we have Megan Hipwell. Megan says right away that she is a liar and makes things up all the time, no one really knows who she is. Therefore, how can we trust a single sentence she utters? Her story is told in flashbacks, leading up to her disappearance and murder.
So I decided to see the film, how did it hold up?
I thought the film was pretty horrible. It didn’t capture the thrills of the book, the language and screenplay was horrid; and they just inserted sex everywhere! I was furious! WHO WROTE THIS? It sucked!
So let’s count down what made this film so bad.
So they changed the location from England to New York and I thought that was a bad decision. First of all I’m tired of everything being New York, it is getting kind of boring. Besides that I thought England was a better choice as unlike America, Europe is so centered on trains. I also thought the weather and location added a certain suspense to everything.
Plus the way the police interact and a lot of mannerisms; didn’t translate over as well to American. I mean there was Rachel’s obsession with her house that is very English, a type of Peril at End House that we have here, but not as strong.
2) The Language
The book was well written and crafted well in creating the story. The film, however, was not done well. I can’t believe the person who wrote this was paid any money, it was bad. Just F-bombs; no mystery, no suspense, nothing.
3) Too Much Sex
They trade out character development and actual plot to just show sex like every ten minutes. None of this was in the book, as it didn’t need that to be a good story. In fact the excessive sex just made the story weaker.
I mean when you watch the trailer they market it like 50 Shades of Gray. That was not what the book was about.
4) Where was Anna?
So the book is split between three narrators, the film did well with two but Anna had hardly any character development. In fact she was barely even in the film. Why would they do that? She was a big part of the story?
5) Surprises Revealed Too Early
So the book is a SUSPENSE. A THRILLER! You aren’t supposed to reveal things right away, they are supposed to be done slowly.
However, this film took all the thrills out early on. If you watch the trailer, the killer is revealed. They tell everything about Rachel’s reason for drinking, Megan’s secrets, etc.
It is like they wanted to do a drama instead of a thriller.
6) Most of the Casting Choices were Horrible
So I disliked almost every actor they choose to play these characters. What were they thinking? Who was in charge of this? They should be fired.
In the book Scott was a wealthy IT consultant. He had a lot of money and could support the two of them, have a nice house in the country, and live off having to travel and work like once a week to twice a month. He was kind, handsome, charming, respectable, etc. You wanted to like him because Rachel did. Rachel believed in him and never thought of him being a killer or ever hurting his wife. He had to be someone you felt comfortable with, that way when Rachel realizes she has no idea who this guy really is, just who she imagines him to be, it takes on a real creepy tone.
In this, from the way he [Luke Evans] dresses and acts he seemed abusive and controlling. I never trusted him in the film as straight off the bat he acted and looked like someone who would hurt women. He never appeared trusting, kind, or gentle. He never appeared IT and their home looked barely lived in and worn. It just didn’t work and he didn’t work.
So in the book, Rachel describes Tom as being strong, powerful, and having the shoulders that seemed like they could carry all their weights and burdens. He is remarried, but at the same time the way he treats Rachel is almost like Cousin Ashley in Gone With the Wind, keeping her on a string.
In this film, I was surprised that they picked Justin Theroux. He was small and made me think of a weasel. I never thought he seemed comforting or a good husband; he looked like a liar and a cheat the whole time. I thought he was a bad choice, as like Luke Evans, he just couldn’t create a sincere or kind facade.
As said before, Anna was supposed to be party girl turned wife. In this she had no character development and the only bit we had was that she loved being a mom and thought it was the best thing any woman could do. We never heard about what she thought about their relationship, her hatred of Rachel, her needs, desires, etc.
I thought she was okay. They definitely played up the sexual angle, but didn’t focus on everything she went though to be who she was. All she was was a sex addict; not a grieving sister, former drug addict, bankrupt business owner, wife, friend, etc.Megan was much more complicated than just sex.
The only thing I really liked was Emily Blunt as Rachel. She did extremely well in showing the emotional abuse and effects of alcohol. Good job, Emily!
To start Horrorfest V from the beginning, go to Who You Gonna Call?: Ghostbusters (1984)
For the previous post, go to He’s Married to a Corpse. He Has A Corpse Bride!: Corpse Bride (2005)
For more films on disappearances, go to What Have We Done to Each Other?: Gone Girl (2014)
For more Emily Blunt, go to Beast or Man: The Wolfman (2010)
For more films based on books, go to That Face-I’ve Seen Her Before…: Let Me Call You Sweetheart (1997)
I too was disappointed by the movie version. I was surprised when it was announced that Emily Blunt was cast as Rachel, as I thought that she was far too glamorous to play a bitter alcoholic. But she was far better than I’d expected her to be, and gave it her all whenever she was on screen.
None of the supporting cast seemed to match their book counterparts at all, and were tame in comparison, especially Tom and Anna. If you could recast any of the supporting characters, which actors would you pick to portray them instead?
Hmm…I’ll have to think about that. For Jack/Scott you need someone who sets you at ease, but can go from zero to sixty. Liam Hemsworth would have been a good choice as he looks like that perfect, golden boy that you can trust. For Tom…maybe Josh Duhamel? He’s 6’4, good looking enough to capture many women but I don’t know of he could carry a dramatic role like that. Simon Baker would be great at making you believe anything he says. Anna I pictured someone a little more throwing themself out there. You know the body of a bimbo, but shrewd in mind. I don’t think the actress who played her was horrible but underdeveloped. The same thing for Megan. I’m not sure who would have been better, but definitely someone more spirited. I mean everyone falls instantly for her, she needs to be more lively.