The premise of Gone Girl was pleasing to my brain. I dislike Ben Affleck for some reason, so I found it incredibly plausible that he would murder his wife. Of course I know that it is actually Ben Affleck’s character in a movie, but I still liked the idea.
A student of mine gave me movie passes, so Dan and I agreed on this movie and made our way to the local theater. My expectations were based on some feedback from other movie goers, so I expected plot twists and good acting. I got both, but I still left feeling like there was a hole (and it wasn’t in my pocket, the movie was free for once).
SPOILER ALERT – I got to give some more details than that, but I’ll be revealing spoilers in the rest of the post so cover your eyes if you haven’t seen this film yet.
There were numerous plot twists in this movie. The first being that the wife, Amy, is not dead, but instead she faked her own death and framed her husband Nick. This was slightly predictable to me as I felt like the character was too active in the narration and plot to be actually dead. But besides having figured it out on my own, I experienced a Hell Yeah moment in the theater with a few others.
The other people were probably reacting out of shock or disbelief. But I had a cynical female laughter ringing through my ears that really becomes a laugh when the rest of the events unfolded.
I was cheering for her all along, hoping she wasn’t dead but an evil maniacal genius. My wish was granted and then taken away rather too soon (couldn’t you have waited for a sequel to kill my buzz?). Then the character loses her monetary funds and has to call an ex-boyfriend. A real female evil genius would have done anything but call a man to save the day.
Let’s cut Amy some slack. She was flat broke and sleeping in a car. The character also comes from a trust funded family in New York, so maybe I should give her a break.
During all this is a news media frenzy that every American is not only accustomed to but expected anytime a murder or disappearance happens (think George Zimmerman or Casey Anthony). The film does a good job portraying the media and how they feed flames of drama and not truth and honesty. I think the film was trying to send a message about the influences media has on people.
But Nick has the mental capacity to read clues and realize that his wife isn’t actually dead. Over his anger, he realizes that the correct words on national TV will convince Amy to return to him and end the circus.
Here’s the problem. It works.
Amy’s reaction is to then frame the ex-boyfriend for kidnapping her and raping her, slit the guy’s throat, and then return home safely though covered in blood.
Here’s my problem. A woman that diabolical would never want to return to her husband. She saw him with another woman and was getting revenge on him. How can she just abandon that plan and return back home? Lastly, she also impregnates herself with Nick’s sperm from a sperm bank.
Men who cheat get punished, but if they are clever enough, women will abandon their plans and return home to be the mother of their child? Hell no!
The real plot twist isn’t that Amy returns home or that Amy wasn’t dead in the first place. The real plot twist is the poor feminist in the audience who finally feels a sense of identification with a character who plots revenge on a cheating husband. Then the feminist gets stabbed in the back with an ending where the character returns to the husband to be the mother to his child. Seriously?
Everyone I’ve discussed the film with has had positive things to say. But of course I can’t go all feminist ranting on my students (though it may slip out occasionally). So essentially Dan heard an ear full on the way home (not in a blaming him way but in a I’m so frustrated that I want to SCREAM way).
Maybe I am overreacting. Maybe there is some aspect of the novel that didn’t translate onto film. Maybe I should just let this one go. Maybe I should get films about women that don’t involve a man’s love dammit.
The best part about the film was when the credits began to roll, for Dan and I looked at one another and said “Let’s not get married.”