Is Gone Girl a pessimistic disaster or a feminist masterpiece? Based on Gillian Flynn’s #1 New York Times best-selling novel, the 2014 psychological thriller film Gone Girl, directed by David Fincher, was a commercial and critical success. If you haven’t already seen it, stop reading this and give the movie a watch first – its elaborate plot and complex characters definitely make it worth it (we promise!).
To refresh your memory, the film stars Ben Affleck (Nick Dunne) and Rosamund Pike (Amy Dunne). Set in Missouri, it follows the story of their two characters when Nick’s wife Amy mysteriously goes missing.
Rosamund Pike’s portrayal of Amy Dunne was well-received and highly praised amongst critics. Pike effortlessly shifts Amy from a devoted wife to become a fearless, manipulative villain, bitterly discarding the role of the housewife.
Amy, filled with rage, evidently shows that she’s not going to live by her husband’s terms or society’s expectations. While she willingly uses her stereotypical femininity when needed to deceive and punish men, she also displays stereotypically masculine traits such as anger and violence at the same time (note the Neil-Patrick Harris sex/murder scene).
However, Amy’s character detests gender norms and does not want to be constrained by anything or anyone. She is fabulously defiant, frighteningly disturbing and horrifyingly sociopathic. You might remember her monologue from one of the film’s most memorable scenes…
“Cool girl is hot. Cool girl is game. Cool girl is fun. Cool girl never gets angry at her man. She only smiles, in a chagrined, loving manner. And then presents her mouth for fucking.”
Amy’s ‘cool girl’ speech is a scorching reflection of how men see women as objects or accessories, rather than as their own person, with a brain, a heart and an opinion. She encapsulates the idea of the male gaze and men’s sexual expectations of women, shattering men’s fantasies that women are never angry and that they are only there to serve the needs and desires of men.
Gone Girl having an unapologetic, ruthless anti-heroic female protagonist was certainly refreshing. It shows that female protagonists don’t need to be likeable or sexually objectified (whether it be in their costumes, their actions or their words) to make it an enjoyable film.
What did you think of the movie? Let us know in the comments down below!
– S x