Let me be clear, I think Emily Blunt is a terrific actress. I love her in everything she’s done (even that hot mess of a movie she made with Matt Damon, The Adjustment Bureau), and I’m sure I’ll love her in the film adaptation of Paula Hawkins’ runaway hit novel The Girl on the Train, too.
But Hawkins’ novel about a voyeuristic alcoholic with depression (and some major ex-husband issues) paints a picture of a character who is anything but glamorous. When I read the book, the character of Rachel was painted as an average-looking woman who describes herself as “no longer desirable,” “off-putting” and puffy from drink and lack of sleep.
I’m sure Blunt will knock the role out of the park (and makeup will help with that whole puffy thing), but when has this woman ever been described as undesirable? And in watching the trailer, she looks tragic, but is still drop-dead gorgeous.
Of course, Bunt’s casting is anything but surprising, considering that Hollywood has a long history of populating films with only beautiful women because, let’s face it, they’re afraid of average. In fact, when I started thinking of dramatic leads, I couldn’t come up with a single A-list actress who isn’t topping someone’s list of beautiful celebs somewhere.
In fact, a quick search of the Best Actress Oscar nominees over the years proves that to win accolades, you’ve also got to be pretty.
So where are all the average, real-world-looking actresses?
Oh, they’re working in comedy of course. Because apparently, audiences don’t mind looking at real women as long as they can laugh at them.
Of course, even women that Hollywood deems average are still gorgeous women. (I’m looking at you, Melissa McCarthy, Amy Schumer, Tina Fey…). They’re just not the typical svelte, porcelain-skinned goddesses that Hollywood prefers to worship.
So when a dramatic role comes along that paints a picture of a regular woman, Hollywood takes one of their A-list actresses and puts them in frumpy clothes and pallid makeup, hoping they’ll make their way to Oscar gold. Casting Emily Blunt as Rachel in The Girl on the Train is just another example of this.
But of course, it’s an excellent book, and I’m sure it’s going to be a fantastic film (full of beautiful faces). I just wish they would have considered someone who looked a little more plain to play this most definitely unglamorous role.
The Girl on the Train opens in theaters Oct. 7, 2016.
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