Review: Gone Girl
I spoil this movie freely in the following review. Trigger Warning: somewhat graphic discussion of rape and other sexual/physical assault.
I have not read the book, so I’m sure there’s a lot of pendantic fuckery that I didn’t get from watching the movie. I’m fine with that because I got enough fuckery from the movie alone. I’m told it was a fairly faithful adaptation.
I hated this movie. I was at a movie theater with my best friend, they brought food to my seat and also sat in a recliner that fully encompassed my body in a squishy, satisfying manner and I still did not enjoy myself at this movie.
Near as I can tell, the plot is that a psycho crazy woman fakes her own murder because she’s angry at her husband for cheating. In the end, she returns to him so he gets off on the murder charge and they wind up together forever with a baby on the way. That plot line took almost 3 hours to deliver.
I have a serious ethical problem with the premise. Serious enough that even if the movie was spectacularly good I would still have an issue with it. People almost never falsely accuse other people of rape (which this woman also does, several times, complete with a disturbing “wine bottle shoved in places for more realism” scene that I could have lived my life without seeing). The false accusations of rape hover somewhere around 2-8% of all reported sexual assaults depending on how you read the data. (Please remember that there is not great data on how many sexual assaults go unreported, but we think it is quite a few). In this movie, we have a lead character who repeatedly frames men for various crimes they didn’t commit. I feel that in this culture, the whole concept is fanning an unnecessary flame. Tell a different story. I appreciate that she’s not the usual victimized woman, but turning the concept around and making her a perpetrator was not the change I was looking for from Hollywood.
There’s a particularly specious scene when the psycho wife returns (after being captured by a psychopath of her own–more on that later) and the FBI is interviewing her. All the men in the room are coddling and babying her, asking her if she feels safe, etc. Only the lady cop in the know is asking her real questions and not being gentle with her. She “sees through” the facade (ironic, because our psycho lady really WAS held hostage against her will, to a degree). The scene spits in the face of the concept of being gentle with possible assault victims. Like law enforcement officers that treat possible assault victims with kindness and gentleness are being used, swayed and fooled by manipulative females. I found the scene nauseating.
That aside, the movie isn’t good. No one is likable or someone you can actually root for. Ben Affleck’s character is a whiny, spoiled brat of a man who is shocked when his wife turns out to have needs that aren’t solely related to him and his writing career and bearing his children. Rosamund Pike’s character is sympathetic for about half a second, then you realize everything that’s sympathetic about her is made up, and she’s actually a raving sociopath. Ben Affleck’s sister in the movie is weirdly codependent, and the only one with any sense in the film is the lady cop, played by Kim Dickens. Sadly she has no real power to do anything. I will say that Tyler Perry brought a breath of fresh air into the movie, playing Ben Affleck’s defense attorney. He’s funny, down to earth and honest. It’s like he came from a different film and tried to rescue this one from it’s own navel-gazing, self-important bullshit, but he couldn’t.
In the beginning of the movie, the wife disappears and of course everyone thinks the husband did it. Ben Affleck goes around smiling for pictures with his missing wife’s poster and with neighbors for selfies and otherwise making himself look like a total asshole. His defense? My dead mom taught me to be polite. We find out he’s having an affair with one of his students. He’s more concerned about being found guilty than finding his wife. I hate him.
So you find out the wife isn’t dead and she staged the whole thing about an hour in. At that point, the movie feels fucked up but clever enough and also over. Except you still get to sit there for another two hours. We watch Ben Affleck go on a hunt to all her former lovers where he hears all the stories about how she fucked them over too, and how psycho she was. We sit through their excruciatingly cute love story as told through her fake journal. We watch Affleck really hate Pike a lot, and she hates him right back.
We find out that even psycho rape fakers can be victims when Pike’s character calls on her high school boyfriend for help. He (played by Neil Patrick Harris) agrees to help her–after all, he’s rich, and she’s on the run from her terrible abusive husband who everyone thinks murdered her. That’s normal. Except when she gets to his lake house there’s a sort of clever “turn about” moment where he turns out to be a total psycho who is still in love with her and now believes he owns her for life. At this point in the movie, I was kind of hoping she’d wind up being Harris’s forever house guest, Ben Affleck would die in infamy or even mediocrity, and Tyler Perry would ride off into the sunset with lady cop. That would have been a satisfying ending to an otherwise wholly crappy movie.
Instead, she pulls the same fake rape and kidnap bullshit and winds up killing Harris with a box cutter to the carotid. She then drives herself home, covered in blood, and forces Affleck to pretend to be happy to see her (you’d think he would be, given that now he can be free of that meddlesome murder charge). Over yet? Not quite.
First we have to learn that Pike used Affleck’s semen to inseminate herself, thus forcing him to stay with her forever because he can’t leave an innocent baby alone with that woman. He looks pretty happy with it, honestly. Perhaps this whole ordeal has made them truly appreciate each other.
In any case, I hate them. I hate them both. Everything is terrible and the end basically circled around back to the beginning–two total assholes living together. Worst movie. Don’t waste your time.