It’s an interesting feeling when a book that you loved goes viral in its film version. On the one hand, it’s great that it wasn’t an utter failure, but on the other…well, now others are in on the secret, and they didn’t even go through the process of reading the book. This was the conundrum I faced with the movie adaptation of Gone Girl - a film so popular that I couldn’t even get a seat next to Paul in the cinema (Instead, I sat next to a man who fell asleep part way through. Bless).
Gone Girl follows the lives of Nick (Ben Affleck) and Amy Dunne (Rosamund Pike), a seemingly perfect couple who live in Missouri. On the morning of their fifth anniversary, Amy has gone missing, apparently abducted, and the lies start to come out from the woodwork. Nick and Amy aren’t happily married: she’s resentful for moving to Missouri from New York; he’s cheating on her with a 20 year old student from his class.
As pressure mounts, Nick’s charming appearance during the search makes him come across as a sociopath, and as the days tick by, the media start to lampoon him as the killer. Yet, nothing is as it seems in this movie, and the usual discourse of husband and wife will be flipped upside down and re-examined. After all – nothing you see on TV is real, right?
While I don’t want to give away any spoilers to anyone who hasn’t seen the movie or read the book and wants to, I do want to address one issue that has come up in numerous articles in regards to Gone Girl. Many people have argued that Gone Girl encourages both misogyny and misandry, and I flat out disagree on both counts. For anyone who has read previous posts, I’m a strong believer in feminism, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that I believe that Gone Girl encourages men and women to hate another one – to be honest, I felt stupid even writing that sentence just then. Without getting into the finer details, I’ll just write this – Gone Girl is a fictional movie, as in, not real. Fiction allows anything to happen – for anyone to be good or bad, and for any actions, no matter how deplorable they may seem, to be done. Regardless of sex, motivation or personality traits. Aside from anything else, in the same way with the book, I applaud Gone Girl for creating a story that is different and unusual from the usual story lines that we’re fed by Hollywood.
Overall, I really enjoyed this film. Though Gone Girl is quite lengthy – at approximately two and a half hours – the movie flew past, which has to be a combination of the directing efforts of David Fincher, the screenplay by Gillian Flynn (who wrote the novel) and the acting by the two main characters. Which, for me, is saying a lot, because I’m really, really not a fan of Ben Affleck. I think it’s his chin.
Gone Girl could easily have been a novel that wouldn’t have worked onscreen with the duality of narrators and the constant shifting in past, present and ‘make believe’. Yet it works. For fans of the novel, it stays true to the story line and overall ‘feel’ of the book, and for first-timers, it is a strong thriller that also seems scarily accurate. Lastly, the film’s adaptation, while still being highly entertaining, doesn’t detract from Flynn’s overall messages of the novel – that of the influence of the media, the shallowness of appearances and of audience’s expectations.
Have you read or seen Gone Girl? Were you a fan of the movie or of the book? What did you think of the ending? If you’ve seen it or read it, let me know in the comments, as I’d love to talk about the spoilers!