Hollywood gets it wrong: Emily Blunt in The Girl on the Train

Hollywood gets it wrong: Emily Blunt in The Girl on the Train

(Yeah, I’ll probably eat these words in a year when we’re all talking about Emily Blunt’s transcendent performance in The Girl on the Train next year, but for now…I’m spitting fire.)

If you’ve been living under a rock, The Girl on the Train is the biggest book of the year. It’s the new Gone Girl, yadda yadda. The thing I loved most about this book was the main character, Rachel, who is the hottest of hot messes. We’ve seen so many male “anti-heroes” on TV and in movies lately, men who are imperfect bastards, but with whom we can empathize. There aren’t a lot of female “anti-heroines.” We get the usual tropes like, “She’s great at her job, but she can’t keep a man!” or “She’s great at her job, but her kids are OUT OF CONTROL!” Usually it’s just a lot of women being good at one thing while sucking at another. Because women can only do one thing, bad or good!

Rachel in The Girl on the Train sucks at EVERYTHING and it’s glorious. She’s not kind of a mess. She’s a straight up train wreck. And it’s not that she doesn’t have reason for being that way, she does. She’s trying (and FAILING) to be better. She’s a very unreliable narrator because she’s drunk all the time. I love this character so much, and Paula Hawkins is a genius for creating her.

Like Gone Girl last year, everyone is going to see this movie. Everyone. It doesn’t matter who’s directing or who’s starring in this film. The book is the thing. The book is the reason.

And yet…Emily Blunt? Really? And they’re not even asking her to gain weight? Look at these pictures. This is not a train wreck who can’t get her life together. This is a sad lady whose cat just died. She’ll be over it in a minute.

Also, also the book is set in London. The movie is set in New York. First off, why? Secondly, then why did they give two of the lead female roles to British women? Atlantic wrote about the decline of the American actor a few months ago, but said that American actresses are doing just fine against their British counterparts. The casting of The Girl on the Train would suggest otherwise.

Part of my bitterness stems from the fact that I BRILLIANTLY (in my opinion) cast this movie in my head while reading it. At least I cast the role of Rachel. I pictured Allison Tolman the whole time. If you don’t know who she is, learn yourself. She played Molly Solverson in the first season of Fargo. She followed that up with a turn as Adam Pally’s druggy-writer girlfriend on The Mindy Project and as an unhinged (with good reason) nurse on Review. She can do drama, comedy, and messiness. She has the right body type for Rachel. And, since the movie is now inexplicably set in New York, she’s American.

Of course, she doesn’t have the same name recognition as Emily Blunt. But, raise your hand (or speak up in the comments), how many of you are going to see this movie BECAUSE Emily Blunt is Rachel? Okay. How many of you will see the movie despite the fact that Emily Blunt is playing the lead role?

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