BY: Ginger Mayo
I will say upfront that this post will likely contain spoiler alerts about the movie Gone Girl, simply because I can’t fully articulate the genius of the plot and my conflicting feelings about it without uncovering some details. But I promise not to completely murder the plot, and it will surely be worth watching regardless of details revealed here. So here I go:
In the past two weeks I’ve watched David Fincher’s Gone Girl three times. Yes, a total of 7.5 hours of gruesome, Gone Girl gore, and yes, all voluntary. I first watched it on Saturday the 24th because my sisters had raved on about the intense drama and incredible acting. They also warned me that I had to watch it alone, that it simply wasn’t a family movie and even watching it with my mother would be heinously uncomfortable. So Saturday night, while babysitting, I tucked into the first viewing. And I couldn’t stop thinking about it.
The plot follows the disappearance of Amy Elliot Dunne, wife of Nick Dunne, on the morning of their five year anniversary. It is quickly revealed that Nick resents his wife and their standstill of a marriage, and that they’re fundamentally unhappy with who they’ve become in the last five years. The entire discontent, on both individual’s sides, is based on the fact that they were married to versions of themselves the other enjoyed – not their true selves. Amy was the ‘cool girl’ who “Ate cold pizza and drank bud light and watched Adam Sandler movies while remaining a size two,” and Nick was the “the cool guy – a salt of the earth Missouri boy,” who was desperately in love with the cool girl. They were exactly what they’d imagined themselves to be – and they were exactly what they hoped their partner would be crafted as. But just like Buried Child, it was a façade – a fallacy, and their relationship crumbled as swiftly and magnificently as it was built.
Perhaps one of the most aggravating parts of most films is the simplicity of the female characters. Often blank, often one dimensional – and when there is a semblance of two dimensions, they’re praised for being extremely progressive and positive characters. Even feminist heroines like Katniss Everdeen from the Hunger Games trilogy or Hermione Granger from Harry Potter have a very predictable depiction – smart, hidden beauty, and strong sense of moral responsibility. It’s the same old cookie-cutter heroine; never to take on the emotional portrayal that depicts a realistic response to betrayal, gender oppression or ambiguity of major concepts like love. It’s always somewhat similar. But not Amy Dunne.
Amy Dunne is a fascinating character. Perhaps the only reason I’m infatuated with this film (and it’s commercial success) is because of her portrayal. She is a feminist nightmare and masterpiece simultaneously. She is a whirlwind of modern female depictions and I can’t tell if I hate her, love her, respect her or fear her. But that’s precisely why she’s so perplexing and addictive to me. Amy Dunne’s fierceness, her cunning nature and her absolute psychopathy all create a multi-faceted protagonist and antagonist at the same time. She is a morally corrupt, paranoid, violent, sociopath. But she’s also wildly articulate, calm, collected and Harvard educated. She challenged me to hate her, to love her and to feel everything in between about her.
Fincher crafted the movie in a way to slowly reveal realities and falsities in equal measure, obscuring the viewers understanding of the plot. Who is good and who is bad is only concretely revealed at the 2 hour mark with thirty minutes to spare. The suspense is built and carried at a level pace, with no scene seeming unnecessary or superfluous to the thematic principles of the plot. The perception of Amy as she’s gone is constantly evolving, which is indicative of the way in which we glorify those who are lost or hurt without even paying attention to who they are when they’re around. The hyperactivity of American media is commented on by the intrusive talk-show hosts who hypothesize the murders, predict answers and cause hysteria among the naive communities. Nick Dunne unravels, all while Amy Dunne watches from the bleachers, a masterpiece unveiled.
If any of you have time, (or if we have a snow day on Monday), I highly suggest you watch this thriller. It is not easy to watch – there is gore, violence, sexual assault and language – but it is a dynamic and varied depiction of a female lead which was so exciting to watch. Gone Girl is fascinating. I highly recommend it.