MovieChat Forums > The Girl on the Train (2009) Discussion > ** SPOILER ** Why the film didn't quite ...

** SPOILER ** Why the film didn't quite work for me.



THE FOLLOWING POST CONTAINS SPOILERS. IF YOU DO NOT WANT THE PLOT OF THE FILM SPOILED IN ANY WAY, FOR YOU THEN PLEASE DO NOT READ THE FOLLOWING ...


To my mind this film concentrated too much on Part I, the "Circumstances", and not the "Consequences", Part II. And, in Part I, we never learned exactly what motivated the young woman to lie about being attacked. That is, the relationship between her and her mother was too loving to warrant Jeanne doing what she did merely to get more attention from mother. And, it also appeared as though her tattoed boyfriend (the one involved in drugs dealings, Franck) also paid her heed, so why ... would she lie to the extent that she did, for attention from him?

In Part II, the lie is told and Jeanne's reaction is so blase that the audience can't feel her passion or pain. Then as the scandal grows larger, Jeanne grows ever more passive about the nation's attention to it and maintaining her falsehood, that ... there again, the audience ends up feeling lackluster about the whole thing.

I think Jeanne lied to get Bleistein's attention, and not mom's nor Franck's. And, she ended getting that because he told her how to get out of it. Then J. wrote her apology, did some time for it, and voila ... the film ended all too suddenly! IT was as though just after writing her apology, we heard that J. did some jail time, then got out and we see her skating in close up and the film ends!
I felt let down.

-- I admire celebrities who muck in & get dirt under their manicures. Charity rules!

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SPOILERS Don't read if you haven't seen the movie!!

I liked the movie more than you did. I felt that Jeanne's motivation was to get attention, not love...two different things. The other people in her life were so much stronger personalities than she was, and they drew so much more attention. Even Franck was a strong and attention-getting character in her eyes, although we knew that he was a petty criminal. And Nathan had his Bar Mitzvah and all that attention. Jeanne had nothing about her to give her any self-esteem. So she did something to attract attention, totally illogical to us, but logical to her in her desperation. I think the TV scenes of student protests and so forth contributed the idea that others were doing something and not just standing around while she did nothing at all. In the end she accomplished her purpose, got the notoriety she wanted even though it hurt others, and even brought Nathan to her. Not a movie for everyone, but if you like the kind of slow-moving character-driven movies that Claire Denis and other French directors make, then it was a good one to see.


I took the road less traveled by.

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Thanks for your input.

I thought Jeanne's reaction to having lied was so blase and callous ... almost too dispassionate to be believed, to my mind. She was like, 'I lied, oh well ...' I felt as though we all could have just shrugged it off, too.

I felt as though she didn't want to avoid being caught in it all either. She just sat there like bait, awaiting being ensnared, seemed to me.

I refer you back to the second paragraph of my OP.

Try not to gossip about who / what you don't know. Words are just cruelly speculative.

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"I thought Jeanne's reaction to having lied was so blase and callous ... almost too dispassionate to be believed, to my mind."

Spoilers Ahead!

That's because Jeanne is such a inveterate liar! She lies right throughout the film. Think back to the start and she's lying to her mother about attending job interviews, when actually she's off skating.

When she finally does attend the interview with Judith presenting a sloppily put together CV, she responds with lies to most of the questions asked of her.

Franck recognises this compulsion in her more than any one else it appears including her mother, when he tells Blaustein late in the film that he always knew she was a liar. Curiously he said it was one of the things that attracted him to her.

It's telling when Louise is being interviewed on TV that she lies about knowing Blaustein (for good reason or otherwise) and the camera cuts back to Samuel's face who'd earlier been asking Louise about who or what may have caused Jeanne to lie.

I really think the film is about the nature of truth and its importance or otherwise to individuals and institutions in contemporary society.

The irony is that the media and political elements carried on the lie without checking whether it was true or not. The inference being the story was more "consumer friendly" than the truth. It's revealed quite late in the film that even Samuel's office knew all along the story was false, but didn't confront Jeanne or Louise with the truth...that was left to Nathan.

Interesting film with a particularly good performance from Émilie Dequenne. I did like the way everything did link in together at the end.

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In a way, I think that the most positive aspect of the film is that there is no clear-cut resolution when the film ends.

Far too often, especially in American films, all the loose ends are neatly tied up right before the credits roll.

In real life, almost never is everything so clearly and obviously resolved, and people very often do crazy and irrational acts which are not foreshadowed at all.

Real Life is not fair, and most times does not 'add up', however if you only learned about life from film, I think you would be led to believe that the motivations behind actions are self-evident.

In most cases they are not.

Excuse My Dust...

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[deleted]

The film doesn't work in a worldly sense because it's really a symbolic spiritual parable. Like you, I was dis-satisfied at first - but then started thinking about it. Somehow I felt there was more to it than was immediately apparent. Finally I concluded it was close to a masterpiece - not a true masterpiece, because it didn't really work on both levels. Check out my review - see if my interpretation makes any sense to you.

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I think the film concentrates on the circumstances to set up the characters and themes and that these mattered more to the director than the consequences, although the way in which the consequences manifested were telling of the characters too.

I would have preferred a focus on the consequences because I disliked Jeanne. Her passivity, as noted by Franck, irritated me immeasurably!

Jeanne's reaction is so blase that the audience can't feel her passion or pain
Just before Jeanne takes the step she does she is watching a documentary concerning the Holocaust and it's obvious from her response that she's suffering.
Why do you refuse to remember me?

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This film was ok. I got bored with it, but I didn't think it was especially bad. 6/10

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thanks for all the sharing.

for me, her motivation was never clear....

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