YMMV / Gone Girl


Both

  • Alternate Character Interpretation:
    • This one is more prevalent in the film rather than the book. Is Amy just pure evil or a Jerkass Woobie? Given she was willing to kill herself as the major part of her plan and wants to come home after Nick shows he's capable of being the husband she remembers, it seems possible to view her actions as not simple psychosis but being desperately unhappy. Rosamund Pike's performance also seems to indicate that Amy genuinely loved Nick in her own way but felt betrayed by his attempt to box her in as his unwanted nagging wife from New York. This is despite the fact she moved across the country to a small town in order to be with him. The fact that she was willing to kill her unborn child to convince him to marry her weakens the sympathetic arguments for Amy.
    • Oddly, averted with Nick. Is Nick the grieving husband, a Nice Guy, and cool sophisticate who is the first person to ever treat Amy as a person? Or is Nick a borderline misogynist, a controlling asshole, and unambitious loser who gave up on a prestigious life in New York to become a community college professor who sleeps with much-younger students? The answer is, he's all of these things. Nick is a multifaceted guy with both dark and light qualities; qualities which come to the fore depending on his circumstances or desire to show them.
    • Did Greta ever figure out who Amy really was, or was Amy just paranoid? This one's even debated by Amy In-Universe.
      • For that matter, did Greta rob Amy out of pure greed, or was she angry and spiteful over Amy, who has never been abused the same was Greta was, exploiting the sympathy people have for women who were actually abused?
  • Awesome Moments/Heartwarming Moments:
    • Nick managing to turn the tide just a little bit and get some of the public back on his side with the video of him, half-drunk, professing his love for Amy and begging her to come back. It works so well that even Amy herself was convinced to return.
    • Near the end of the book Nick torpedo's Amy's latest scheme to keep him in line (framing him for poisoning her) showing that now that he knows how the game is played he can play it as good as Amy does.
    • Margo's last line to Nick in the film — "Of course I'm with you. I've been with you since before you were born."
  • Broken Base: The Cool Girl speech has divided feminists over whether Amy is making a good point about women not changing themselves to fit the ideals of men or whether she's just condemning women who don't fit her ideal of what is proper behavior. The movie subtly argues that Amy is wrong by singling out women, failing to see that humans in general behave that way - this is highlighted by her wrongly identifying one of the car passengers she passes by, who is sitting with another woman, as a Cool Girl. That's not even getting into Amy's evil, violent actions.
  • Critical Research Failure: A mild but still annoying example in the book. When Nick enters the wrong code for his dad's house and trips the alarm, he calls the monitoring station. They turn it off for him, which can't be done remotely.
  • Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: It is possible to have this kind of reaction to either the book or film. While the characters are capable of Pet the Dog moments or moments of genuine empathy, most of them can be distrustful, shallow, unfaithful, self-centered or at the very worst, sociopathic. Throw in an ending that's pretty bleak, especially in the film version considering the softer version of Nick's character, and you got something of a bitter pill to swallow.
  • Family-Unfriendly Aesop: Marriage is hard worknote :
    Nick: And then all we did was resent each other, and try to control each other. And cause each other pain.
    Amy: That's marriage.
  • It Was His Sled: Amy is a sociopath.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Amy does terrible things to people who were repentant about their mistakes, but it's implied that being brought up to be 'Amazing Amy' left some considerable emotional damage on her, "I remember always being baffled by other children. I would be at a birthday party and watch the other kids giggling and making faces, and I would try to do that too, but I wouldn't understand why." Her parents expected her to be perfect, and each day was an opportunity to fail.
  • Magnificent Bitch: Amy's Evil Plan is detailed, extensive, and required a lot of research to pull off. Her pre-game is so effective all she has to do is sit back and watch the world consume her adulterous husband.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • The "Cool Girl" speech, of course.
    • "I'm the cunt you married. The only time you liked yourself was when you were trying to be someone this cunt might like. I'm not a quitter, I'm that cunt. I killed for you; who else can say that? You think you'd be happy with a nice Midwestern girl? No way, baby! I'm it." Variations of this speech are starting to pop up on Tumblr and other sites.
    • "What are you thinking? How are you feeling? Who are you? What have we done to each other? What will we do?" is everywhere on Tumblr.
    • "We're so cute I want to punch us in the face."
  • Misaimed Fandom:
    • Some fans legitimately believe that Amy is a feminist role model despite (or because of?) her being a complete and utter manipulative sociopath, up to applauding her murder of Desi and her framing of Nick.
    • Likewise, some fans believe Nick is a flawed but ultimately sympathetic everyman utterly wronged by his wife, when the two of them are a pair of sociopathic individuals trapped in a mutually abusive relationship.
    • People applauding the "cool girl" rant for telling it like it is clearly miss the part where Amy is a complete freaking hypocrite about it. She is angry that men expect her to be whatever suits them the best, and fair enough - but she also has some very definite ideas about how a man should act to be a "real man," which just happens to be in the way that suits her the best, and thinks it's completely okay to force Nick to adhere to them. The moral of the story isn't that men are horrible, it's that men and woman are both capable of being pretty damn horrible when they start thinking that they deserve to have everything their own way.
  • Rooting for the Empire: Some viewers found themselves rooting for Amy anyway, due to her charisma, intelligence, scheming and planning to make Nick responsible for her disappearance. Her backstory noted in Jerkass Woobie helps.
    • Nick's adultery starting all of the trouble doesn't help much.
  • Shocking Swerve: After growing attached to Diary Amy, it can be a shock for the viewer to discover that not only was Nick being played by Amy, so was the viewer.
  • Smug Snake: Amy clearly thinks of herself as the one thinking person in a world of morons, but she's not quite as smart as she thinks she is. Her prep work was flawless, but her plans quickly start fraying at the edges. She turns out to have misjudged how expensive living on the run is. She opens up a little too much to someone she considers a fellow woman mistreated by men, only to have said woman beat and rob her with the help of her new boyfriend (so much for sisterhood!). Then she contacts a man she considers an easily manipulated idiot who'll be putty in her hands because he's got a crush on her, and he turns out to virtually imprison her "for her own good." And then, just to top it off, Nick manages to manipulate her into running back home, thus nullifying almost everything she set out to accomplish. None of which, of course, does anything to puncture her ego - in the end, Nick has actually found it in him to feel sorry for her for being such a broken, twisted mess of a woman, and she just can't process that fact, because in her mind she's always the winner.
  • Spiritual Successor: Reconstructing Amelia could be seen as the young adult version of Gone Girl.
  • Straw Feminist: Amy, though as mentioned above, opinions differ on just how and why. Some would say that she is no feminist at all, just an egomaniac who happens to be female and hijacks feminist rhetoric to turn her personal grudges and disappointments into matters of high-minded right and wrong. Others would agree with much of what Amy says and thinks about sexist double standards and oppression, and consider the "Straw" part to consist only of the lengths she will go to to get back at the men who have wronged her.
  • Unfortunate Implications: Suffice to say, not everyone enjoyed the parallels to the idea that rape is often something vengeful women lie about. Let's try and leave it at that.
  • The Woobie: Go is probably the biggest contender- she has to helplessly watch as her twin brother is accused of murdering his own wife, discovering that he has lied to her and has the press constantly asking if she was involved in Amy's disappearance. By the end of the story she also has to live with the knowledge that her brother intends to stay with a manipulative, murderous psychopath.


Book

  • Esoteric Happy Ending: The ending is deliberately written to be this. Amy finally has someone who she can be herself with and Nick has the child he always wanted. They may eventually kill each other but, at heart, they're both sociopaths.
  • Genius Bonus: When Nick is recounting Amy's obsession with finishing everything, he remembers her reading Haruki Murakami's "The Wind Up Bird Chronicle", which is about an estranged couple, along with the wife suddenly going missing.
  • Shocking Swerve: A book-exclusive one: Amy shows up bloodied on Nick's doorstep after murdering Desi. The movie averts this by showing the earlier of the two events in question before showing the one that takes place chronologically later.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character : Nick's dad was set up well to be the killer, then he was unceremoniously dumped in the last act.

The film adaptation:

  • Alternate Character Interpretation:
    • Nick comes across as less of a sociopath in the film; he's prone to emotion, genuinely cares about people, and empathizes. To be sure, he's a schlubby kind of guy and painfully awkward when out of his comfort zone (read: the entire movie), but his faults are presented as more of the garden-variety mid-life crisis type. This more human characterization has the side effect of making the already dark ending bleaker in the film than in the book. Book Nick seems excited by Amy and willing and able to manipulate her in turn; film Nick comes across as disgusted but powerless and any fascination with Amy is more akin to Stockholm Syndrome than anything else.
    • In a blink and you'll miss it moment, Nick's throwaway line of them being "partners in crime" seems to imply he's not quite the trapped victim Amy hoped from, especially after their earlier confrontation. Amy looks visibly surprised by the comment.
    • Another minor example is the film not revealing that Nick's father emotionally abused his mother and family. This makes Nick's interactions with him much more open to interpretation and potentially makes him much more unsympathetic.
    • Andie comes off as more shallow and vapid than her book counterpart thanks to a comparative lack of screentime—was she sleeping with Nick because she genuinely loved him, or did she just think that it might give her a leg up in her career?
  • Alternate Aesop Interpretation:
    • You can be much happier in marriage if you both pretend to be better people than you are.
    • Don't cheat on your spouse, ever.
    • Never get married.
      • Don't get married to a sociopath.
    • If you're unhappy in your marriage, just get a fucking divorce.
  • Author's Saving Throw: The movie shows a scene that was only discussed in the book, but was criticized for not including the event in the narrative: Amy's murder of Desi, in all of its gory details.
  • Award Snub: Was only nominated for Best Actress at the Oscars. No nominations for Gillian Flynn for Adapted Screenplay, David Fincher for Director, or Trent Reznor/Atticus Ross for Original Score, or Best Picture.
  • Awesome Music: As always, Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross' score is a highlight. Especially the tracks that plays over Nick discovering the contents of the woodshed, the "Cool Girl" speech, Amy's murder of Desi, and the amazingly eerie opening title track.
  • He Really Can Act:
    • There's been praise for Tyler Perry's performance as a media-savvy attorney even among critics who don't normally enjoy his work.
    • Although he's given a number of great performances in other films before this, there were a few who still expressed surprise and enthusiasm when stating how much they enjoyed Ben Affleck as Nick Dunne.
    • Rosamund Pike surprised a few viewers with how she nailed Amy.
    • Few would question Neil Patrick Harris's skills with comedy, but here he plays a completely dramatic, and rather creepy, character, and pulls it off without a hitch.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: Ben Affleck was involved in cheating allegations a few months after the release of the movie, and his wife filed for divorce shortly after. Some paparazzi photos of him with his kids were pointed out to look extremely similar to Nick's expression at the initial press conference.
  • Nightmare Fuel: Amy's murder of Desi has a lot of blood and quickly switches from sex to strangulation.
  • Take That, Scrappy!: Jeff and Greta robbing Amy is a cathartic moment in the film.
    • Amy killing Desi.
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