The Girl on the Train Explained: What’s Up With the Ending?

Depression, abuse, hope: the idea for the film The Girl on the Train (2016): the essence of the film, plot summary meaning, explanation of the ending, similar movies

Country: USA

Genre: Thriller, Detective, Drama, Crime

Year of production: 2016

Director: Tate Taylor

Actors: Emily Blunt, Hayley Bennett, Rebecca Ferguson

tagline: “Strange secrets can be dangerous”

The topic of abuse in relationships is raised quite often in cinema. Tate Taylor did not stand aside either. Based on the novel of the same name by Paula Hawkins, he shot a rather entertaining detective thriller. The essence of the film “The Girl on the Train” (The Girl on the Train), probably lies in the fact that the ability to understand people helps to avoid fatal mistakes in life. And it also talks about how important it is to be able to let go of the past in time.

What is the movie about

Brief description of the content of the film “The Girl on the Train”. Rachel Watson suffers from alcohol addiction. After losing her job and going through a difficult divorce, the girl got a strange hobby – to aimlessly ride the train. Although the goal may not be fully realized, she still has – so she can freely observe the life of her ex-husband Tom and his new wife Anna. Rachel also watches how Tom and Anna’s neighbors Scott and Megan Hipwell live. They are unfamiliar to her, but she knows that Megan once worked as a nanny for Tom and Anna, but she had to quit.

Emily BluntEmily Blunt played the role of Rachel Watson. Frame from the film.

Rachel’s marriage could not be called pleasant – she really wanted to have a child, but she could not conceive it. This led to a deterioration in relations with her husband, depression, and then to addiction. Rachel also has periodic episodes of temporary memory loss, which worries her very much. In particular, she does not remember at all that she did any dangerous actions – for example, she arranged disgusting scenes for Tom, which, according to him, cost him his job, pulled Tom and Anna’s little daughter out of the crib and “forgotten” her on the floor … Girl understands that she needs help, but she can not decide to go to the doctor.

One day, from the train window, Rachel sees Megan kissing a stranger. This greatly outrages the young woman – so much so that the idea comes to her mind to arrange a “debriefing” for the “traitor” – after all, she has a husband, how dare she?! Hours later, she wakes up in her own bed to find blood on her body and clothes. Soon she learns that Megan has disappeared, and she herself is a suspect – after all, several witnesses saw her in the company of a missing girl.

Confused and discouraged, Rachel meets with Scott and confronts him about Megan’s alleged affair. She recognizes the man in one of the photos, to which Scott says that it is Kamal Abdik, an acquaintance of his who works as a psychiatrist. The doctor is also suspect. Rachel decides to meet with him to discuss the situation with Megan, but the psychiatrist gently turns the conversation to herself, and in the end the young woman tells him about her problems.

Remembering meetings with the missing Megan, the doctor says that she had a dark secret – while still a teenager, she gave birth to a child. He died by drowning in a bathtub. According to the doctor, Megan constantly and very much reproached herself for this …

A little later, the police discover the murdered Megan. The tests carried out show that the young woman was expecting a child, but, as it turned out, neither Scott nor Dr. Abdik was his father. Soon, an enraged Scott comes to Rachel’s house and accuses her of the fact that, because of her manipulation, the police suspect him of killing Megan. The man is acting intimidating, smashing a bottle against the wall and roughly grabbing Rachel. However, he soon lets her go and leaves.

Haley BennetHayley Bennet as Megan, Edgar Ramirez as Kamal Abdik, a psychotherapist. Frame from the film.

Rachel, convinced that there was a hidden meaning in his actions and he thus threatened her, goes to the police and tells in detail about his visit. However, the detective in charge of the case reports that Scott has an alibi – at the time of the murder he was in a bar.

Rachel returns to her “hobby” and soon meets Martha, the wife of Tom’s former boss, on the train. Approaching her, she apologizes for having drunk one day at a barbecue and gave her husband a disgusting scene in front of witnesses. But Martha assures her that everything is in order – yes, Rachel went over a little, but she behaved quite adequately and easily allowed herself to be taken away and put to bed. Moreover, Martha stuns the heroine with the words that it is not her fault that Tom was fired – there was a special meaning here, since several colleagues accused him of harassment at once.

Suddenly, Rachel understands what the key to her memory lapses is – Tom resorted to gaslighting and, during joint drinking, often inspired her with false thoughts, which later turned into false memories. And she also remembers that he beat her, leaving bruises and bruises on her body …

Meanwhile, Anna begins to suspect that Tom is cheating on her. Out of jealousy, she soon discovers that her husband has been secretly communicating with Megan. Rachel recalls that she also saw Tom with Megan – she told him that they “lit up” and he, having beaten his ex-wife, demanded to stay away from them and his mistress.

Remembering everything, Rachel goes to Anna, tells her her interpretation of what happened and warns of danger. Anna doubts, their conversation drags on and at that moment Tom returns home. Knowing full well that his ex-wife loses her memory after alcohol, the man tries to force her to drink. But Rachel, who has quit drinking by this point, refuses. Afterwards, Tom hits her hard in the face and she faints.

A little later, we see a flashback in which it turns out that Megan really killed Tom. So he took revenge on his mistress for refusing to have an abortion – she was pregnant from him. Having regained consciousness, Rachel tries to run away, but Tom attacks her again, completely forgetting about Anna, who is watching in horror. Defending himself, the young woman wounds him with a corkscrew seized in a hurry. Tom falls, and Anna comes up and finishes him off…

Rebecca FergusonThe role of Anna was played by Rebecca Ferguson. Frame from the film.

The Girl on the Train Ending explanation

Explanation of the ending of the film “The Girl on the Train”. Closer to the finale, the police arrive at the scene and arrest both women. During interrogation, both give the same testimony and insist that they were not going to kill Tom, but only defended themselves. They also both talk about the fact that it was Tom who killed Megan.

In the very last episode of The Girl on the Train, Rachel comes to the cemetery and, stopping in front of Megan’s tombstone, says that from now on all three women are forever connected – they have a common terrible past. Then she gets on the train, but only on the other half. The point of The Girl on the Train’s ending is probably that Rachel is now ready to start another life.

The meaning of the film The Girl on the Train

The meaning of the painting “The Girl on the Train” echoes the main idea of ​​Edgar Allan Poe’s creepy short story “The Fall into the Maelstrom”. Both in the book and in this film, with amazing strength and piercing, bordering on despair and hopelessness, the dank and rainy depression of a beautiful girl is shown. This monstrous state, like the chthonic monster of Lovecraft, has confused the main character hand and foot. Not allowing her to breathe or live, the disgusting chimera gradually drags her to the bottom, into the black funnel of a dead whirlpool – to the place from which they do not return.

If at Poe the action took place at sea, then here we meet with the symbolism of an endlessly moving train. He goes back and forth – every day, which is similar to the previous one and the next. Probably, the train symbolizes not only the state of mind of the main character, but also a strict, inexorable time. In the non-linear and rather torn narrative of the film, it constantly unscrews back and goes backwards. The main goal is to remember and understand. It is very important to use the befuddled brain as much as possible and scrupulously restore the events in which she was a direct participant (or witness) … Or could be.

Rebecca FergusonFrame from the film.

Rachel travels daily by train to and from New York. The landscapes floating by have long been memorized by her, but she is not particularly worried about this. She is most interested in one cottage and one window. An ideal couple lives in a pretty house – a golden-haired beauty and her husband. Rachel, who has gone through an abusive marriage and a difficult divorce, likes to think that they are a wonderful family and are doing well. She understands that she invented them for herself, as a writer invents heroes … but she does not want to know who they are and what really happens between them. She likes to think that these two are serenely happy, that’s all.

Sometimes, however, Rachel looks through another window – her ex-husband lives there. He left her after she began to have severe problems with alcohol. Tom has a different family now… Tom and his new wife Anna live next door to the “perfect couple”. The girls are very similar and both seem to Rachel equally perfectly happy.

Whether this is so and how much this picture corresponds to reality, the viewer does not know for a long time. The whole story, in fact, is very chamber, shown through the eyes of several characters – and first of all Rachel, who looks at the world as if through a dull and cloudy glass filled with alcohol.

Rachel is not sure of anything and does not even believe in herself. She suffers from memory lapses and does not remember what she did in a deranged state. She learns about her drunken antics from Tom, a tall, handsome man. She becomes very ashamed and, being in dark horror, she drives herself even deeper into the wine fog.

Upon discovering that the beautiful stranger has disappeared, the main character of the film “The Girl on the Train” realizes that she finds herself in a very strange and almost ambiguous position. Almost no one takes her words seriously – how can you believe the delirium of a not quite adequate, well-drinking girl? And in general, what does she have to do with the missing girl, what did she do there? ..

blood on clothesFrame from the film.

Tate Taylor skillfully plays with genres, mixes them and, like a magician, presents the puzzled viewer with either a drama, a psychological thriller, or a detective story. However, it soon becomes clear that the detective line is just a background: there are not so many suspects and it is quite simple to understand who exactly committed the murder.

Still, the most important thing here is the deep inner drama of the main character. Abandoned, deceived and trampled, Rachel still cannot let go of the past. The hypocritical abusive husband betrayed her. But she loved him, probably too much to let go so easily and start a new life.

When you blindly and completely give yourself to a person, and in return you receive a treacherous stab in the back, it is difficult to recover from this. What about devastating pain? At different trainings they usually say: “Live on”, but the fact is that mental pain cannot be “turned off”. That is why Rachel has to drown her out with liters of alcohol and, like a city madwoman, wander aimlessly through the streets. However, “everything passes, this too will pass” – she still has to bury her dead. But first, she will need to look into the eyes of the past and understand that it was not worth her tears.

The painting “The Girl on the Train” looks like a candy wrapped in a dozen candy wrappers. To understand the essence of the film, we unfold them one by one, discovering something new in each of the characters. And only in the very finale everything falls into place, and all that remains for us is to open our eyes in amazement: here it is, it means how …

In general, this tape has a hidden meaning. After watching this film, it’s hard not to think about how little we know the people with whom we communicate every day. You never know where you might meet a monster. Or wake up. Or maybe he sits in each of us? ..

heartacheFrame from the film.

Similar films

Here are a few more films similar in meaning to “The Girl on the Train”:

  • “Gone Girl” (USA, 2014). The wife of the protagonist disappears on the eve of the celebration of the fifth anniversary of married life.
  • “Paranoia” (USA, 2007). After a car accident that kills Cale’s father, the young man begins to feel like he’s going crazy.
  • “What lies behind” (USA, 2000). Norma and Claire are married. One day, an otherworldly guest bursts into their serene, measured life.
  • “Before I fall asleep” (UK, USA, France, Sweden, 2013). A woman who has lost her memory is trying to remember what has happened to her over the past twenty years.
  • “The Invisible Guest” (Spain, 2016). Lawyer Virginia Goodman defends a young businessman suspected of killing his mistress in court. She is not sure that he is innocent, but she is not going to lose the case.
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