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Gone Girl: Did The Movie Live Up To The Book?

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Last week after work me and a few other Au Pairs treated ourselves to a movie night out. We headed over to the La Defense cinema, Amy (find her here) and I incredibly excited to see if one of our favorite books would live it up on the big screen. After receiving quite a generous student discount, we settled into our seats to watch the 2 1/2 hour movie (self-brought snacks in tow of course). And, did the Gone Girl movie live up to its incredible novel predecessor? Read on to find out!

SPOILERS AHEAD! DO NOT KEEP ON READING IF YOU DO NOT WANT TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS.

The comment zone is not spoiler-free as well, so avoid that too. :)

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Summaries of the novel can be found here, and of the movie can be found here. The very basic one from the back of the book is: “On the occasion of his fifth wedding anniversary, Nick Dunne reports that his beautiful wife, Amy, has gone missing. Under pressure from the police and a growing media frenzy, Nick’s portrait of a blissful union begins to crumble. Soon his lies, deceits and strange behavior have everyone asking the same dark question: Did Nick Dunne kill his wife?”.

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For me, the film could not have done the book more justice. While in my mind reading a book will always be a different, usually better experience, I feel like you can’t hate on a movie for not being the book. The two aren’t the same thing! And movie Gone Girl was perfectly done. Rosamund Pike was brilliantly cast Amy. As an actress, I feel like she has the exact cool-aloofness that the character calls for. Ben Affleck also made a perfect Nick: generally a likable guy, you also believed it when people began to think of him as a murderer. The two had the exact chemistry on screen that I read in the pages of Gillian Flynn’s masterpiece.

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Neil Patrick Harris as Dessi was another great casting move. He was equally believable as another victim of Amy’s manipulations, but you also felt the creepy vibes towards Amy at the end of the movie. And out of all of the characters, I thought that Go (Margo) was best cast, with Carrie Coon playing the role. She was the voice of reason we needed in the movie, and is the character that kept it all tied together. She helped us viewers figure out what to think about the situation, and confirmed our reactions when her’s were the same. Simply perfect.

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My only criticism would involve connecting this movie back to the book. As a movie itself, I believe that Gone Girl is Oscar-worthy (looking at you Rosamund Pike, in that last bedroom scene). Naturally though, I viewed it always keeping the book in mind. So, please take the views below as more of a movie/book compare & contrast, rather than a criticism of the film itself.

First of all, I found the book a lot more thought-provoking. After finding out that Amy was alive while reading, my mind was blown. When the movie cut to her driving away in her car on “the day of”, the shock wasn’t as big. I was less “surprised” (quotation marks because I obviously already knew what would happen) because we catch so many glimpses of Amy in diary flashbacks. She never really seems dead because she is always on screen. Then again though, this moment of finding out that she was alive probably didn’t feel as dramatic to an extent because I already knew.

I also found the end of the novel much more thought-provoking. I spent hours after I put the book down thinking about the complexities of Amy and Nick’s relationship, and just what the meaning of him staying with her means. It was almost a sense of desperation after reading the book! You feel so frustrated towards these two characters, angry at Amy for being so manipulative, yet angry at Nick as well for him not being able to think himself out of the situation. Additionally, enraged about the fact that essentially “Amazing” Amy is right: the two complete each other, in a strangely sick way. All I can think is: the poor child being born into that family.

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Above all, I hated Amy more after the book than after the movie. I think this is because in the book, we get so many extra details about her past, details that make clear exactly how manipulative and spiteful she is. For example, the movie left out the best friend’s life she ruined, and more details as to how exactly she views Nick and her parents. The movie made her out to be pretty evil (I mean pulling off making herself seem dead, murdering someone who trusted her and helped her when no one else was there), but somehow I still resented her more after reading. I think Nick and Amy are both made out to be pretty sick to an extent in the movie, but the cake most definitely goes to Amy.

Long story short: the book will always give you more insight, and a deeper connection/more complex understanding of the characters. Books make you question more, staying with the characters long after you’ve finished the final page. This is the case with Gone Girl, along with very book to film adaptation I have ever seen. However, independent of the novel behind the movie, Gone Girl was damn near perfect. If you haven’t seen it yet, go do so. You won’t regret it, promise!

Thank you so much for reading. I would love to hear below, what are your thoughts on the Gone Girl movie? Please let me know, I’d love to engage and discuss with you guys!!

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Bisous!

Julia

Images Courtesy of 20th Century Fox and Regency Pictures. 

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  • I thought the movie did a great job, but movies from books can always do a little better. People who have read the books of high expectations that can never be met. A small part I wish would have been included was more background on how crazy Amy was, specifically the phone call with the woman who attended boarding school with her. I’m sure many people have certain parts in the book that they wished were in the movie and that was mine.

    Great response to the movie vs book!

    XX,
    S. Roderick
    http://www.currenthabits.com

    • Julia

      That’s exactly what I thought was missing too!! I thought that that part in the book did an incredible job of setting up exactly how manipulative she is, and I really missed it during the movie

    • Julia

      And thank you! :)