Have You Seen Megan Hipwell?: The Girl On the Train (2016)

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 HipwellMegan 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?

It works

Well………………………………………………………………………….

I don't like it 11

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!

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So let’s count down what made this film so bad.

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1) Setting

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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.

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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.

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2) The Language

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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.

I don't like it 11

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3) Too Much Sex

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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.

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4) Where was Anna?

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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?

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5) Surprises Revealed Too Early

really?

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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.

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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.

Scott Hipwell

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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.

Tom Watson

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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.

Anna Watson

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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.

Megan Hipwell

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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.

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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!

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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)

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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)

The Sense and Sensibility Screenplay and Diaries

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The Sense and Sensibility Screenplay & Diaries: Bringing Jane Austen’s Novel to Film

When I read the opening line of:

“IF THERE WAS ANYTHING I knew for certain, it was that Pride and Prejudice was a very stupid book and that Jane Austen was a very stupid writer, and that I would never, ever read one of her stupid books again. I was thirteen years old.”

I was hooked.

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This book was amazing! It was funny, interesting, full of Jane Austen, and behind-the-scenes extras. I could not stop reading it.

So the book is divided into three parts: Part 1: Lindsay Doran, producer; Part 2: The screenplay; and Part 3: Emma Thompson’s on set diaries.

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Part 1: Lindsay Doran

In this section, Lindsay discuses her first involvement with Jane Austen, and when reading the above quote you can see that she didn’t particularly enjoy it. Her view was changed at college, when during an English oral report, one girl told of the many virtues of Jane Austen and her novels. Lindsay told herself she would then put those books on her  reading list, but like everyone didn’t get around to it immediately.

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After Doran had an accident and was forced to remain home and stationary, she had the idea to read all of Jane Austen’s novels, out of which her favorite became Sense and Sensibility. Being a film producer, she saw the merits for turning this into a movie; but knowing that there would be a few complications. Trying to find funding for the film would be hard, along with choosing the perfect actors to portray the characters. Most of all, one would have to find a writer who could channel the voice of Jane Austen, yet make it something that the everyman could enjoy. Lindsay put it on the backburner until she discovered that writer.

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Eventually Emma Thompson was brought to her attention in the film Dead Again. With that film she discovered Emma loved Jane Austen and with the writing Emma did on her show Thompson and Doran knew that Emma would be the perfect person for the project and role of Elinor Dashwood. However, not everyone felt that way as it was very difficult for Lindsay to convince the rest of the people to take a chance on an unknown. This surprised me, as Emma Thompson is a huge star today, but then as I looked on her filmography, I realized she hadn’t made that many films at the time. In fact the biggest actor involved was Hugh Grant, who today is kind of passed over for Emma Thompson, Alan Rickman, and Kate Winslet; as most fans prefer their performance in the film.

Lindsay Doran is a great writer, almost as it is is a conversation. It reads as if you happened upon her at a party and asked how did you get involved with the film Sense and Sensibility? Was it easy to bring to film? It reads really well, and is extremely enjoyable.

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Part 2: Screenplay

This part is just word for word the screenplay of the film. I really enjoyed it as it included scenes cut from the actual film, along with having every part of the dialogue, allowing you to see what you might have missed in watching it. It was a fun read for any lover of the film or book.

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Part 3: Emma Thompson’s On Set Diaries

This were really interesting as they are not only the behind-the-scene view of an actor, but the screenwriter as well. As Emma was the writer of the screenplay; we get to see her constant rewriting, agony over any cut scene or changed line, pushing of other actors to fix lines or say them a different way; along with her relationship with the director, set designers, producers, casting director, etc.

On the flip side of that, we have Emma Thompson the actor, who has to pull herself out of that writer role to become Elinor. Within this sphere she has a completely different relationship with the director, actors, set designers, makeup artists, etc. It is an interesting read as Emma herself talks about how she is straddling two worlds and has to separate herself from one when she enters the other.

She also tells fun stories of her and the cast, how the weather affected everything, the cultural differences between the English actors, American film crew & producers, and the Taiwanese director.

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All in all it was a great read for any Jane Austen or Sense and Sensibility fan. I highly recommend it and gave it 5 out of 5 stars.

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For more on Sense & Sensibility, go to It Doesn’t Exist

For more on Emma Thompson, go to A Bit Pottery About Jane Austen

For more books with a Jane Austen flavor, go to Fall For You

They’re Coming To Get You Barbara: Night of the Living Dead (1968)

 

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 They’re coming for you, Barbara! 

This is an amazing film! George A. Romero is truly an amazing screenplay writer and director.

I actually saw the sequel first, Return of the Living Dead, which I also loved. It wasn’t as creepy as this one, but still was very good. The rest of the sequels were stupid though, so don’t waste you time with them.

One of the things that makes this film so revolutionary and a cult classic is that it is one of the first films about zombies to depict them as actual living dead and not mind control, like in White Zombie or Revolt of the Zombies. It also has the zombies being created by radiation instead of controlled by the third eye.

I also love how the zombies are true zombies and not any of these super soldiers they make them to be now. The zombies are living dead, so they move slow as their flesh is rotting. They also are destroyed by by fire or a shot to the head.

It’s a great zombie film!

So the film starts out with Barbara and her brother Johnny going to a cemetery to put flowers on their father’s grave. While they are there, Johnny starts teasing his sister; trying to freak her out. He sees a man approaching and pretends that it is a “ghoul” after her.

It turns out the man is a zombie and he starts to attack her. Johnny tries to help her, but hits his head on a gravestone. Barbara runs away, and holes up in a farmhouse.

Now Barbara is freaked out, but she was pretty awesome in searching out for a knife to protect herself. She ends up being joined by Ben, who stopped at the house when his car runs out of gas.

Ben is pretty awesome as he is a super survivalist. By this time Barbara is pretty much incoherent as she has gone into complete shock.

They are later joined by others trying to escape these attacks. The film switches from being just a horror film, to being one of survival. We see what everyone’s true characters are as they show how they act in intense situations.

The movie is fantastic and has a completely unexpected ending.

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You’d all love it! Watch this after you’ve seen the film.

That’s it for this fearsome Friday! More posts to come! 5 days ’till Halloween!

Here’s a poster/cover photo I made for my facebook as part of my Halloween countdown

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To start Horrorfest from the beginning, go to I Don’t Belong in the World

For the previous post, go to From the Sea Burning With Fire

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For more on zombies, go to When Potatoes Go Bad

For more on monster movies, go to I Want Friend Like Me

For more films that spanned sequels, go to Someone Very Special