On Gone Girl

Last night, I watched the movie “Gone Girl” and it left me deeply disturbed. Maybe, I should stick to movies like Avengers and Cobra.

Edited to add in a section on marriage.

Note – This post has spoilers.

On wanting to read the book:

I had heard that the book was great and originally wanted to read it. The library had a list of reservations running 1 year long which explains why I had not yet read it. After watching the movie, I dropped the idea promptly. Of course, I went online and read the differences between the book and the movie.

On the movie:

The movie was good and disturbing. Many people raved about the twists in the movie though I could guess some of them as  I watched the movie –

  1. She was not dead, she had run away.
  2. She would go to Desi when she was robbed of her money. Who else could  she go to?

It was easy to see this coming.

Dating Advice:

What the hell does dating advice to do with an article about Gone Girl? Well, there is something to be learnt from it which was painfully obvious –

  1. STOP PRETENDING in a relationship.
  2. Communicate.
  3. Perfectionism kills.

The basis of Amy’s and Nick’s relationship was shaky. They both pretended to be who they were not. I do not think it is okay, even in the initial stages of dating. I will concede, I understand that a lot of people who got into relationships pretending to be someone they are not. You can pretend for some time but not all the time! They do not know each other at all!

Another thing was they never talked about stuff that mattered. As you watch the movie and there are scenes from the diary, it is shocking how they started dating in 2005 and only in 2007, Amy talks about Amazing Amy and how it was related to her life. WTH?! They never discuss giving money to Amy’s parents. They never discuss moving back to the town where Nick’s mother is dying.  They jut don’t discuss anything!

Amy is a perfectionist. Perfectionism is tiring because you can never be perfect all the time. Our media may sell us perfect skin to perfect hair to perfect marriages but let us be honest here- Perfect does not exist in real life. Amy tries to maintain a perfect facade but that breaks her down and her marriage. In some ways, her parents are to be blamed for this. Things have to go her way – the perfect way. Neither of them relaxed into the relationship because she wanted her marriage and the guy in to be perfect. Nick was like a project to be worked on.  Nobody likes to feel that they are a project. I am tired just writing about the perfectionism aspect.  Take it from a recovering perfectionist, it is very tiring.

On Amy:

Crazy perfectionist psychopath A-type personality. Who wants to marry someone like that? I can imagine there are plenty of people like this in Hollywood without the psychopath part, of course!

On Nick:

He is a douche bag. And a coward. Just get a divorce instead of sleeping around with students. And just run away instead of remaining married to a psychopathic murderer even if it means that the world hates you. There will always be another news.

Maybe, he really was a misogynist and selfish lazy guy but that does not negate the fact that Amy was a psychopath.

I could not understand why the hell, he would choose to stay alone with a crazy person. She could do anything next. He was in alone in the house with her for god’s sake. What if she killed him? It made no sense. And how could she impregnate herself with his frozen sperm without going to a clinic? There must have been some proof, right? She knew how to manipulate him at every step and knew he would not leave. He should have just left somewhere with his sister, instead of staying with Amy, in my opinion.

  1. Amy is back to pretending to be perfect and last time that happened, she broke down. What makes him think she will not break down after becoming a mother at some point in the future?.
  2. Why the hell would you want to bring a child in such a family even if Nick stays around to protect the child?

As I have not read the book, maybe the movie missed out on Nick’s character sketches seen in the book. If he is a psycho as well, well he should also be in a mental institution. 

On media:

It made me realize how often we fully believe the image and perceptions that the media gives us. How we judge people in public cases without knowing the entire truth and assassinate people’s characters while many powerful people are never spoken about like that. I always knew and understood, that movie stars / singers / politicians are a result of a careful PR campaign but it never hurts to be reminded of that.

On Gone Girls being misogynistic:

When I was looking up for more articles of Gone Girl, I was surprised that this movie/books was accused of being misogynistic.

The misogynistic argument I found over the internet are in short:

  1. She falsely accuses men of raping her and is met with sympathy. This gives a perception that lot of women do it while in reality the % of women doing it is very little.
  2. Women are not met with support and sympathy like in Gone Girl.
  3. Women are portrayed negatively as crazy bitches.
  4. After seeing crazy Amy’s behaviour, misogynists have more ammunition to label women as crazy bitches who deserve to be ill treated.

My point is why can’t we just take characters for what they are and not based on their gender. Yes, she is a crazy psychopath and she should be in a mental institution AND she happens to be a woman. Just because, you read about nut case dictators, do you go about generalizing ALL men? No, right? Then, how in the world does it make sense that people will go about generalizing ALL women based on one fictional character?  Whoever does that is a jerk, anyway. Men can be villains but we have a problem with female villains! People of any gender can be psychopaths. My assessment remains the same irrespective of gender.

On the false allegations of rape, she was listened to because she was a rich privileged, fairly famous personality. How many times do we react with outrage to the atrocities happening to poor tribals? Compare that with when something happens to be middle or upper middle class? Yes, that is why her complaints were taken more seriously.

On cool girl:

This is the excerpt from the book that has been getting a lot of publicity and everybody (for example – link) seems to be sharing or quoting  (it applies to a more western dating scene) –

“Men always say that as the defining compliment, don’t they? She’s a cool girl. Being the Cool Girl means I am a hot, brilliant, funny woman who adores football, poker, dirty jokes, and burping, who plays video games, drinks cheap beer, loves threesomes and anal sex, and jams hot dogs and hamburgers into her mouth like she’s hosting the world’s biggest culinary gang bang while somehow maintaining a size 2, because Cool Girls are above all hot. Hot and understanding. Cool Girls never get angry; they only smile in a chagrined, loving manner and let their men do whatever they want. Go ahead, shit on me, I don’t mind, I’m the Cool Girl.”

“Men actually think this girl exists. Maybe they’re fooled because so many women are willing to pretend to be this girl. For a long time Cool Girl offended me. I used to see men – friends, co-workers, strangers – giddy over these awful pretender women, and I’d want to sit these men down and calmly say: You are not dating a woman, you are dating a woman who has watched too many movies written by socially awkward men who’d like to believe that this kind of woman exists and might kiss them.”

Again, stop pretending to be anything you are not just to snag a guy. Yes, society puts pressure on us to behave a certain way but you do have a choice.

Cool girl is often misinterpreted by women.  If a guy treats you poorly – does not commit, is abusive, harassed you etc. – DUMP him. Stop being the cool girl and putting up with it and being resentful of how society forces you to fit in. Being cool means, you do not have to do everything together 100% of the time and there is no need to be nervous about it. Have your own life. Nobody is perfect and you will have to compromise on some things and that should be mutual. Some people want to control the other person in a relationship to an irrational extent and that is NOT cool, no matter the gender. At the end of the day, the person in the relationship is an individual. Be cool and let the other person have their life. Does not mean, you have to be doormat. Being cool when you are not happy, does not change things. It only increases resentment.

My experience says that doormats and “cool girls” (like described above) end up with controlling jerks because they are “cool” with being walked over and controlling guys are quick to catch on that.

On who Amy reminded me of:

As I watched the movie, I was reminded of someone who put on the same perfect facade as Amy. Always stoic. Always with perfect hair and make up. No emotions. Straight A’s. I never really liked her and the feeling was mutual. I heard she dated some guy for a short while before getting married and that d she completely changed for him. A path to disaster. 

Note – I am referring only to the perfectionist aspect of Amy and no other mental disorder aspect.

Also, this reminded me of many women who will never allow the man to see them without make up. Many Korean women apparently wake up earlier than the guy just to put the make up on. This is often the pressure people put on themselves than other people at that moment in their lives.  Maybe, someone said something to them years ago and they are still carrying it.

On marriage:

There have been several articles, viewing Gone Girl as a critique on marriage and I really thought it over. Honestly,  I did not really view it that way at all. Yes, there was only one point in the movie, when they were married that seemed creepy to me. Many people use Nick and Amy’s marriage of how we can never really know the other person in the marriage or understand what they are really thinking (example – link).  Let us be realistic – 

  1. You can never ever know what someone is thinking or go in to their heads.
  2. Of course, people change over time.
  3.  I always believe people may change a lot but their core essence generally remains consistent over a time period unless something really dramatic life altering event happens.
  4. Nobody can predict how things will pan out in the future but one can make some fairly decent judgement based on the facts in front of them.

I would not use Nick and Amy’s marriage as an extension for marriages because they were both crazy (mental institution crazy) and they both were fake. For heaven’s sake, that person did not show a twinge of remorse for killing someone. What do you expect?

If we start thinking, “what if my marriage ends up like Nick and Amy’s?”, we would all be shit scared to ever date and marry ever again. There are plenty of instances, where would do nothing because we are scared we would end up like shitty guy or that person. We would pick ourselves apart and drive ourselves crazy because we cannot read our spouse’s mind. Instead of getting ourselves in a twist, the best thing would be to focus on what we can control – ourselves. The question to ask is  – “Would you continue staying in the marriage/relationship, if you discover that your spouse is a whacko murderer or leave?”

So readers, have you watched or read “Gone Girl”? Your thoughts?

10 thoughts on “On Gone Girl

  1. Absolutely spot on. I read the book and saw the film twice. The book was so disturbing, I was so mad at both the characters, but I loved the unfolding suspense.
    I hated the movie the first time because I went with my husband on a date night and he totally came out of the cinema looked freaked out, like I could be Amy…LOL. And I’m like “uhhhh relax”…
    Second time my mum wanted to see it and I was just desperate to get out of the house. I was more relaxed when I saw it with another female.
    It was a very disturbing story. I still don’t know if I liked it or not!!! It is so negative about marriage and it implies that if you “pretend” then that’s the only way a marriage will work out. And also I did find it quite misogynistic. And so much about sex too.

    1. Implying that pretense is the only thing that works in relationships rankles me too!

      In what aspects would you say you found it misogynistic? I only saw the movie and to me it was a tale of 2 crazy people.

      1. Well, it was so complicated. Like the sexuality was used to the highest degree. Whether it was the wife or the mistress, the only way they could “hook” the guy was to act dumb, sexual and unfrightening. And even when Amy fled to Dezi’s house, she had to lose weight and act like a little puppet. Like clearly she is an intelligent woman and she doesn’t NEED a man – why is she doing that? Why can’t she just divorce him and move back to NY instead of doing all this crazy crap and making a huge mess. Like she felt her being was defined by a man or something. And she constantly had to downplay her Amazing Amy fame as to not threaten him. But the whole thing was really too sexual for me. And then I hated the part of Amy using the unborn child as a ploy to get him to stay, so awful. It literally made me leave the cinema thinking that all women are crazy and calculated!!! I myself felt like a misogynist. I loved the suspense in the film but would rather see a different script.

        1. Hmm..I view it more like the misogyny and patriarchy Amy had imbibed and believed how she needed to be to get a guy. Hers is a classic case of a women who has completely accepted patriarchy with its man hating views –
          1. I need a man to complete me and to live in this world
          2. The only way I can get or keep a man is through my sexual viles
          3. Men are suckers for sex and no brains when it comes to sex
          4. Men do not like intelligent successful women, so play dumb
          5. Men are the reason for my suffering and why I have to pretend. So hate men
          6. But then, women are my competition as we are all competing for men, so hate women.

          In that way, it is society making women extreme because we give them misogynitic and patriarchal values

          I feel had she not pretended, she may have ended up with another kind of a guy altogether. See, the thing is it was not a marriage against her choice, it was fully her decision to date or marry. She chose to pretend to be a certain way around Desi and Nick and they wanted her to be the way they thought she was.

          Usually men can be way more intuitive than we give them credit for – a lot of them cannot pinpoint a reason why they don’t like a woman but somehow nice guys don’t end up falling for women who pretend to be cool but are not. They feel it even if they cannot articulate it. – At least that is my observation. I know several women who behave nasty with women, a whole new bubbly nice personality for men but somehow men don’t want to be around them even when they are being the ‘cool girl’. Something repels them. Maybe the vibes?

  2. I don’t really read or watch such movies – I get stressed out very easily 😦 btw I read someone’s one line review of the movie on FB – it’s like khoon bhari maang without the crocodile 😀 I hope you know that Hindi movie!

    Also I loved your earlier post – so glad you were able to get the wedding you wanted, yay!

    1. Thank you for the wedding 🙂

      I wouldn’t exactly call it a Khoon bhari maang equivalent. The guy wants to kill her, kills her and she comes back for revenge. Incidentally this movie was based on a some English/Australian movie or serial – Return to Eden. That does not involve a psycho person.

      Here, the guy does not attempt to kill her. She is nuts. And he still loves her in some convoluted way I cannot explain.

      I agree, it is indeed very stressful.

  3. Ack! I heard such great reviews about it, I went and bought a copy (albeit, a used copy!!). Your analysis of the film/book and marriage and relationships on the whole seem spot on. I don’t know whether I should waste my time reading now!

  4. I read the book, haven’t watched the movie. I think the reason he didn’t leave initially at least is because he wanted her money. This is what makes him a douchebag. She had co-financed his bar or something. And then later, she makes sure he can’t leave.

    The feminist outrage is because, yes of course, just a character, but yet another character at a time when men’s rights groups are shouting about women crying wolf.

    I read the book as a parody of marriage. Don’t pretend, you say, but everyone does. The self is after all a construction. It’s all good until it turns ugly. Amy and Nick are extreme versions of what happens in marriage on a micro scale to some extent or the other. Hence the heebiejeebies for us oldtimers.

    1. Basically, it is 2 people manipulating each other to an extreme. Considering how brutally she murdered Desi in the movie, I cannot fathom living in the same house even with her. That would freak me out because well, jeez what is she gonna do next? The very fact that he did not piss in his pants living with her tell me something is bizarre about Nick.

      I do not believe, women have never cried wolf. Women are like men. We are as capable of fallacies and being manipulative as men. If a woman wants to have revenge, of course, this is the easiest route to take. That doesn’t mean every single woman is crying wolf. I think we need to separate a psycho from a non psycho irrespective of gender. If any guy uses a fictional psycho as an example that all women cry wolf, he is a douche bag to boot.

      For the marriage part – I think both of them were not themselves and they set the marriage to a very very high unattainable standard. The guy got tired of trying to get an unattainable goal and knew he would never be good enough. Take the easy way out – go to some naive student who looks up to him. I think, I would give up too, to be honest. Who wants to spend their life feeling they are not good enough. And I thought you got over the pretending to be cool at the end of high school.

      Yes, self is a construction but I do not think it is that difficult not to pretend – like if you do not like football, say so and make it clear that you are watching it just because you love them but there is no need to be resentful doing it. If it makes one resentful, just go read a book or something and let the other person watch. To me, the closer I am, the safer I would be to be authentic.

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