Rachel – The Good
On the surface, Gone Girl seems like an over-written, colorless drama about a miserable marriage between a bored man and a jilted housewife. It is essentially a romanticized version of how fucked up marriage is, and if you can take it that way – seems like a warning to not get married. It’s going to fuck up your life, so don’t. However, there’s something… strange about everything in this film. Inhuman, almost. If I could describe my experience watching it, it would be like slowly falling asleep into a nightmare. Things just gets worse, and worse, and worse, and there’s absolutely nothing you can do about it.
Rosamund Pike is a sensation to behold, as is Ben Affleck, but whatever, he’s not the point. It’s hard to believe under that blonde and porcelain exterior lies a venal ferocity that would shake even the coldest of people. As we watch Nick and Amy’s relationship unfold, we become privy to facts and hints that seem like nothing at first, but come together like the silky strings of a spider’s web. And Amy, appropriately called a ‘spider’ in the film, knows exactly which strings to pull. There’s been a bit of controversy in regards to Amy’s character, with critics calling her a “sexist portrayal of a crazy woman”. Though I didn’t think Amy was exactly relatable to the average woman in any way, she was no doubt just as complex and interesting. Yes, it irks me that her motives and actions are driven by her obsessions with a man, but at the end of the day, it is rooted in reality, and it does happen. You just don’t have to be likeable to be a strong female character.
On one hand, Amy is a stone cold bitch and a raging psychopath. But on the other hand, she wouldn’t have done any of this crazy shit if Nick hadn’t cheated on her, and that is despicable in and of itself. Sure, these are some drastic measures to take, but if there’s any way to scare your man in check… this would be it. I wouldn’t go as far as framing my boyfriend for my murder, but let’s just say if that ever happens, I’ll have an idea of what to do. I mean, hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, amiright?
The film follows them chronologically from the beginning to the end. The beginning of their relationship is a dream state of passionate sex, eloquent conversations, and good food. They fell, long and hard, until they couldn’t remember why they jumped in the first place. What exactly happened for them to get here? Gillian Flynn masterfully adapted her novel for the big screen, and for the most part, I think she got her point across. Every little detail, every line of dialogue is a piece to a grotesque puzzle, and that’s what I love about this film.
The end was absolutely crushing, leaving me feeling dirty and absolutely stunned. Not because Amy essentially gets away with it, but because of how much is left unresolved. We’re left standing on our tiptoes, sitting on needles. Yes, they each got their just desserts in some way – Amy was beaten and mugged, her original plans destroyed, and Nick was punished profusely for his infidelity. However, you can’t help but wonder if those two deserve really deserve each other, or what their future holds.
Anais – The Bad
It’s not that I didn’t enjoy Gone Girl. I mostly had a good time watching it and I don’t doubt of its intrinseque qualities as a movie. It is decently written, well-acted, brilliantly directed, and it did have me smile a few times and say “nice” in an appreciative fashion at some genuinely clever moments. I enjoyed seeing Rosamund Pike in an actual good movie, and also appreciated Ben Affleck in the role of the “obviously too aloof to be actually plotting anything” regular white guy. I think that everybody did a good job. Really. I do.
Why am I not excited about this movie, then? Well, it’s not exactly about the movie in itself, although some of it is. I didn’t believe for one second that Ben Affleck’s character was a real suspect. It might be because I’m an avid reader of thrillers and watcher of procedurals, but when the story keeps pointing at one character as being the only available suspect, I just don’t buy it. That, and like I said, the character was just too detached from everything to seem like he would have cared enough to kill his wife. I could barely believe that he cared enough about being alive to even cheat on her. Speaking of which, I always find that making a man a cheater is just an easy solution. Yes, cheating is awful, but it’s always the first thing writers go for when they want a man to be unlikable. To me, cheating is like making a character kick a dog: lazy and cliché, especially since they always cheat with women described as being shallow and unimportant. The mistress character is never someone that matters, someone with an actual personality. She’s the “slut”, the one that he would never leave his wife for, because he’s just an asshole anyway, isn’t he?
On top of that, the movie clearly wants us to believe that both Ben Affleck and his wife are equally bad. I wanted to believe that at first, but when you think about it, it’s just not the case. She falsely accused two men of rape, killed one of those men, faked her own death, and framed her husband for her own murder. He cheated on her and was kind of immature and lazy. How does that make them equal? She is clearly presented as the villain. Which leads me to my real problem with Gone Girl. See, my real problem with the movie is some of his fans. Gone Girl does not give a very good image of its main lead, who happens to be a woman, and I know that some people are going to take advantage of that to push forward their ideas about women. Art does not exist in a vacuum. In a perfect world, Gone Girl would just be a decent movie whose protagonists are just really dysfunctional people that we love hating. Right here and now though, I just don’t feel like putting up with the people who will use it as yet another proof that women are evil.