Saturday, October 11, 2014

Gone Girl: Book vs Movie. The Verdict Is In!

I don't get to see a lot of movies these days.  We don't have easy access to a babysitter, and when we do go out alone, we generally prefer an activity that lets us talk with each other, rather than sitting quietly in a dark theater for two hours.  In 95% of cases, I have no idea a movie has been released until it makes it to Netflix.

But I sure as heck knew Gone Girl was coming out.  WOOT WOOT!

After I read, and positively adored, the book in 2012, movie rumors were already being circulated.  (You can check out my review HERE.) I was cringing, because (go ahead, say it with me!) THE BOOK IS ALWAYS BETTER THAN THE MOVIE.  They were saying Reese Witherspoon might be Amy (ughhhhhhhhhh) and that alone was making me nervous for the adaptation.

However, as you know by now, the movie was made and started getting some pretty decent reviews, so I knew I had to see it.  My darling husband had zero interest in this flick though, so I gathered a group of my mommy friends, and this past Thursday we made a night of it.  Of the 5 of us, 3 had read the book, and 2 hadn't.  So we got some interesting perspectives within the group.

Here are my thoughts, and yes, HERE THERE BE SPOILERS.  You have been warned!

Overall, I loved it.  Rosamund Pike was an exceptional choice for Amy.  She does an equally good job being the serene, well-adored Amy and the calculating, I'mma-cut-you-with-a-box-cutter Amy.  Ben Affleck plays a perfect Nick as well--aloof, self-absorbed, kind of a jerkface, but still curries some favor as he tries to find his crazy-ass wife.  And Neil Patrick Harris is a CREEPY Desi Collings.

Beyond the cast: the soundtrack adds much suspense, especially at the end.  And I was impressed with how Amy's diary entries were handled, as flashbacks with her narration over them.  Much like in the book, they are well-placed throughout the story, and mislead you just enough (especially in the beginning) that you don't see The Big Twist coming.

But, you know, the book always has to be just a TEENSY bit better than the movie.  Right?  So I had two little things that I liked better in the novel.

1. The Big Twist.  When I was reading the book, I hit the end of Part 1 and had no idea, not one clue, what Amy was up to.  Then I read the first page of Part 2, and...there is a reason I used a nuclear bomb GIF in my original review.  KA-BOOM.  There were expletives spoken aloud.  The entire book was turned on its head, and I loved it.

In the movie, it didn't feel that way to me.  Granted, I knew it was coming, having read the book.  But even despite that, I was so excited for that big twist, and I felt like it wasn't as explosive on screen as it was on the page.  Perhaps because we had already heard Amy's voice continuously through flashbacks previously in the movie--so when she starts talking about her staged disappearance, it doesn't feel as shocking?  I'm not sure.  But for me, that twist felt better in print.

2. The pregnancy at the end.  One of the reasons I enjoyed this ending in the novel so much is because it was done with very little fanfare.  Part 3 of the book is not very long, and so the pregnancy is introduced, with some additional detail, but there isn't a lot of dialogue and it is kind of left hanging--very ominous, something that sticks in your head for a long time afterwards.  However, in the movie, the pregnancy is introduced, and then there's a lot of back-and-forth between Amy and Nick, plus the reveal to Go, and then on national television, etc. and it felt like too much.  I just wanted the pregnancy revealed, maybe reactions from Nick and Amy, and that was it--no more talking.  I wanted it more abrupt, to match the feel of the book.  However, I will say that my friends who didn't read the book seemed a bit frustrated at the lack of detail in the movie's conclusion (what happens next after the pregnancy is announced, etc) this is likely my own personal issue as I pick apart one of my favorite novels.

As you can see, those two tiny caveats are...tiny.  This movie was truly awesome.  In my eyes, David Fincher has done Gone Girl justice.  Well done, Hollywood!

Who else has seen Gone Girl (the movie)?  What did you think compared to the book?  Those who haven't seen the movie--are you tempted to do so, based on your reaction to the book?  Why or why not?


  1. YES. Your number 2 is pretty much my only quibble with the movie. It just felt like there were way too many scenes in the last ten minutes or so and it kind of toned down the impact of the end. But like the non-readers in your group, my husband had all these questions and wanted to pick my brain about how things would have worked, so I think they were trying to tie up loose just felt off.

    1. I'm glad I wasn't the only one. During the entire last minute, in my head all I could think was "PLEASE STOP TALKING!!" Haha.

  2. I really need to get out and see this one!

    1. Yes you do! And then report back! :)

  3. They did such a great job with this adaptation! I also felt the ending in the book had more of an emotional impact than the movie ending, but overall I loved it.

    1. Agreed. It's been a long time since I've seen a movie adaptation done this well...maybe Shutter Island?

  4. I haven't seen it yet but I'm glad to hear that it is worth a watch! I have to imagine that it's not an easy story to capture.

    1. I was so afraid they would screw it up. The tone of this novel is very specific. But I was impressed at how well they nailed it.

  5. This is one of the few movies-based-on-a-book that I have actually convinced my husband to go see with me. We haven’t been yet but I’m really looking forward to it!

    1. Good for you for convincing him!! I think my husband lost hope in my book-to-movie theater trips when I made him see The Time Traveler's Wife. One of my all-time favorites, and even I left sorely disappointed...

  6. Like most people, I'm usually disappointed by movie adaptations. I also thought they did a great job with this one, though! Seriously. I was afraid that they'd cut too much out, or that they'd tone down Amy's craziness (like the monologue about being a "cool girl" that guys like, blahblahblah) and she just wouldn't be the same love-to-hate-her kind of character. But it seems to have worked out in the end. :-)

    1. I completely agree! I think Amy's personality was absolutely crucial, and Rosamund Pike just nailed it. So much would have fallen apart if she didn't get that done perfectly.

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