In twenty years (honestly, I predict sooner), high school seniors will be reading “Gone Girl” by Gillian Flynn.
They’ll buy it with their Calc book and Chem 2 goggles and annotate and highlight it. They’ll write papers on the disillusionment of marriage and how society affects our perception of gender roles. They’ll SparkNotes it—yes it’s a verb—and stream the movie to get out of reading all of it before the big final. Hey, they might even discuss their reaction to Amy’s revolution between sips of their wine coolers and drags of their cigarettes—or whatever the kids do in 2034.
I thought all of this almost a year ago when I turned (I mean clicked… I’m a millennial so I read this on my Kindle) the final pages of Flynn’s third novel. But, I thought it again during the rolling of the credits of the film adaption directed by David Finch, written by Gillian Flynn and starred by Ben Affleck and Rosemund Pike. I thought, “What a great moment in the history of literature.”
Seriously, the psychological thriller has all the makings of a dissectible read; it has cleverly written dialogues and internal monologues (or diary entries), unraveling plot, a social commentary on marriage and gender roles, and romance—well, sort of. I mean each of the characters could have a five-page paper written about them, hands down. It’s downright Shakespearian.
Here are my favorite passages in the book and how I felt they translated to the big screen. Ugh, if you seriously need a spoiler alert, you’re dumb.
“When I think of my wife, I always think of her head. … Like a child, I picture opening her skull, unspooling her brain and sifting through it, trying to catch and pin down her thoughts. What are you thinking, Amy?”
10/10!!! I think the movie nailed this extremely creepy, yet revealing moment between Nick and Amy. In the movie, Nick stares at Amy’s head while stroking her hair and she looks up at him with her incredible doe eyes, looking positively innocent. The film closes on a similar moment with the same look from Amy, this time much more devilish.
“People say children from broken homes have it hard, but the children of charmed marriages have their own particular challenges.”
5/10… I was kind of disappointed the movie didn’t fully develop Amy’s resentment toward her parents. Like, in the book Amy absolute HATES her parents. And in the movie you see that she didn’t like them writing about their fictitious Amazing Amy, but she definitely had a positive relationship with them, not at all like book Amy.
“Love makes you want to be a better man. But maybe love, real love, also gives you permission to just be the man you are.”
7/10, because the movie does not make any excuses for Nick’s infidelity like this passage and the rest of its chapter did. In the book, you get Nick’s dialogue. You hear how much Amy made him feel like shit, like real examples—which don’t get developed in the movie. Andie in the movie is 100 percent how Amy regarded Andie. Supposedly, yes she was hot, but she was shown more of a positive relationship to Nick. Plus, Nick is affable when he explains the affair in the book: “Now is the part when I have to tell you I have a mistress and you stop liking me. If you liked me to begin with.” C’mon, I rooted for the guy!
“Men always say that as the defining compliment, don’t they? She’s a cool girl. Being the Cool Girl means I am a hot, brilliant, funny woman who adores football, poker, dirty jokes, and burping, who plays video games, drinks cheap beer, loves threesomes and anal sex, and jams hot dogs and hamburgers into her mouth like she’s hosting the world’s biggest culinary gang bang while somehow maintaining a size 2, because Cool Girls are above all hot. Hot and understanding. Cool Girls never get angry; they only smile in a chagrined, loving manner and let their men do whatever they want. Go ahead, shit on me, I don’t mind, I’m the Cool Girl.”
9/10. I love this idea of Amy putting on a front with Nick. She’s psychotic! Absolutely insane. She shed these personalities all her life and got stuck in the “cool girl” one for so long it drove her insane and she resorted to framing her husband for her murder. The cool girl identity was developed fairly well in the movie. I will say, that other reviewers don’t agree to this. But, I think it couldn’t’ve been better.
“All we did was resent each other and cause each other pain,’’ Nick said.
“That’s marriage,” Amy said.
8/10. This got such a reaction from the theater I was in. Literally a woman, with two bottles of empty wine next to her (it was a bistro theatre), audibly said: “Oh GAWD, (pause and audience chuckle) I’m NEVER getting married.” Such a great, simple retort by Amy that was always underlying the whole book and then in the movie you focus on other things. But this moment in the book is so climatic and just, man, it’s perspective. (I’m not sure if this direct line was in the book, but it was so powerful in the movie!)
“My gosh, Nick, why are you so wonderful to me?’
He was supposed to say: You deserve it. I love you.
But he said,’Because I feel sorry for you.’
‘Because every morning you have to wake up and be you.”
0/10. BECAUSE THE MOVIE DIDN’T HAVE THIS WONDERFUL MOMENT THAT COMPLETELY DECIMATES AMY.