Last weekend I saw Gone Girl opening night, as I had been eagerly anticipating the release having read the novel just the week before, so everything was fresh in my mind. I’m glad to say I wasn’t disappointed, and immensely enjoyed the movie despite knowing all of the major plot twists. My boyfriend who had not read the book also enjoyed it from solely a film perspective, which always credits the text-to-film translation if non-readers can watch it and follow along enjoyably. I can safely say that Gone Girl is my favorite book to movie adaptation of 2014.
This was the aspect of the movie that I was most concerned about. I had read various sources online that said that the movie was going to have a different ending than the book (um, WHAT?). I heard various reasons for this, including making the film less “predictable” for those who already knew the major plot twists. I was extremely disappointed upon hearing this, because to do something as drastic as change the ending really sacrifices the textual integrity of the book, and really, who says I would even LIKE the story if it had a different ending, you know? Fans are going to see the movie because they liked the original ending! I was also shocked upon hearing this too because Gillian Flynn wrote the screenplay herself! Thankfully, the movie kept the to the original storyline, and a majority of the things in the movie corresponded accurately with the novel.
I loved loved loved Rosamund Pike. She did SUCH a good job as Amy. I preferred Amy slightly in the book (though to be honest it’s hard to really like Nick or Amy in the book) but Pike’s performance was fantastic, down to the subtle nuances of Amy’s personality, such as her perfectly controlled temper and her OCD. I also loved Margo, Andie’s character was spot-on, and I adored Tyler Perry as Tanner Bolt. While a majority of the casting was well done, two important roles fell short of my expectations: Ben Affleck as Nick and Neil Patrick Harris as Desi. In the book, Nick is younger than Amy, and has “a trust-fund face” and a youthful, college boyishness to his appearance still. Ben Affleck really doesn’t fit that mold, and so aesthetically I had a hard time reconciling him with the Nick from the novel. He also lacked chemistry with Pike, and I had a hard time believing in the passion of their marriage in the early stages. His performance was just…meh. Neil Patrick Harris, on the other hand, performed the creepy-obsessive-handsome-rich guy role well, but he’s really not at all what I pictured Desi looking like, and they also glossed over a lot of the nuances of his character, so I just couldn’t really see him being Desi. I did, however, love how often they integrated Amy and Nick’s cat, who’s really the only potential “reliable” narrator in the whole story (if he could talk) since he’s lived with the two throughout their marriage and been witness to every secret and betrayal.
Even knowing all of the plot twists having read the novel, the movie was still really fun to watch and revealed the twists really well. I really like how they incorporated Amy’s journal entries with voice-overs, and Rosamund Pike’s deep, irony-tinged, and sometimes scathing voice was perfect for reading the excerpts. The movie had a subtle sinister feel running the course of it that never tried to hit you over the head with the fact that it was supposed to be a thriller, and it carried its lighter ironic moments well too. The movie also translated what I felt was the main message of the book well: the story of two deeply unhappy people who have turned their marriage into an obsessive, toxic cycle.
Overall: Gone Girl is a fundamentally fantastic story, whether you read the book, watch the movie, or both. It’s intelligent, witty, and dark, and is well-acted and captivating. It earned an 87% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and will meet audiences expectations wonderfully. It’s definitely worth spending the money to have the experience of seeing it in theater!
You can read my review of the novel here.
Have you seen the film? How do you think it translated from text to film? Let me know in the comments!