Movie Review – Gone Girl

gone girl I went to see the highly anticipated movie, Gone Girl, with a friend yesterday. We both read the book – written by Gillian Flynn – and both had a similar critique of it……loved the story and was riveted to the pages throughout….right up to the horrible ending! It seemed to be a very common response from just about everyone (scratch out the “just about” part – I do believe it isn’t a stretch to just use the word EVERYONE without any qualifiers) I knew that read it and by others I heard talking about it:  Loved the book, hated the ending!!!

The author, Gillian Flynn, must have decided to react to what was likely a universal complaint – I had heard that the ending was changed for the movie! That made me even more excited to go see it. I thought that a better ending would really make a difference in my experience with the story. Well, let me start out by saying that I STILL hate the ending!!! It really wasn’t that much different…….no spoilers, here, but suffice it to say that they take it a little further and provide a plausible explanation, but it still left me wanting a very different outcome.

So, what did I think overall? Well……I have mixed emotions about it! I’m really not sure if I am willing to recommend it — I think I am, but with some strong cautions! First and foremost – respect that “R” rating – this is NOT a movie for kids! It is VERY graphic – the cussing, the sex, some nudity (but don’t hold your breath for the full frontal nudity of Ben Affleck that has been played up in the media – I must have blinked cause I never saw it and I paid attention to the only shower scene), and the violence is blatant and not a movie I would be happy to see kids – even teens – watching. BUT – if you are one of those who read the book and concluded that you “loved the book, hated the ending”, the movie will likely leave you feeling the same way. The movie follows the book very closely – it has been a good two, maybe three, years since I read the book and the movie reminded me of all the little details I forgot and made me feel like I was re-reading it. That is something a lot of movies made from popular books fall short on – they tend to change things too much – not here! However, there are just a couple of major changes that made me send off a note to someone who recently read the book to clarify my memory of what happened in the book. Like I said earlier, the ending is somewhat different – it doesn’t end as abruptly as the book does and attempts to give a plausible explanation, but it still falls short of reasonable expectations of how it should end. The other change that confused me was the way the character Desi Collings dies, but I won’t go into that — I don’t want my review to spoil the movie for anyone.

Overall, I found it to be very exciting — just like I was riveted to the pages of the book, I was riveted to the edge of my seat in the theater! Even though it followed the book very closely, so I knew what to expect, I still found myself tense and engaged throughout! Ben Affleck was very convincing in his portrayal of the husband, Nick Dunne……I loved Tyler Perry as super star attorney, Tanner Bolt……and, Neil Patrick Harris was delightfully dapper as rich stalker, Desi Collings. I wasn’t impressed with the other three main characters – Roseamund Pike as Amy Dunne,  Carrie Coon as Margo Dunne, and Kim Dickens, as Det. Rhonda Boney – each gave decent performances, but really didn’t have a lot of chemistry with the other characters and kinda fell flat for me……although, Roseamund Pike did have some shining moments where her character stood out more than it did through most of the film.

For those of you who didn’t read the book:  The basic story is that Nick and Amy Dunne fall in love and enter into a fairy tale marriage that turns into a nightmare when Amy is apparently abducted or murdered and Nick is seen as the prime suspect. Fairly early on, you find that Amy actually orchestrates the whole ordeal as revenge on Nick for making her miserable and for his infidelities. She takes Nick and the detectives on a scavenger hunt of clues that all lead back to the conclusion that Nick murdered his wife and somehow disposed of the body. Which of course, is an incorrect conclusion, but the evidence is overwhelming and Nick soon becomes the most hated man in America in a national media frenzy. Synopsis ends here to avoid spoilers that, if you haven’t read the book, would be unfair to disclose.

One major observation I had as I was leaving the theater……….since the mid-80s, the Glenn Close/Michael Douglas movie, Fatal Attraction, has been the ultimate horror movie for unfaithful men – the classic worst case scenario of “crazy bitch takes revenge”! Well, I think Gone Girl has successfully knocked Fatal Attraction off that pedestal and has taken the “crazy bitch” crown!

My rating? I’m torn……on one hand, I found it riveting, very close to the book, and a great, highly suspenseful, story…….on the other hand, it was a little too graphic and visual for me……..and the biggie is that I STILL HATE THE ENDING!!! So, I’m going to deduct some points and give it a B+ rating. Do I recommend it? Yeah, I guess I do — sort of — I don’t know! I lot of people are saying they loved it……I fall short of that, but it will definitely be an individual thing – more so than most movies I see. So, use your own judgment – if you’re looking for a really suspenseful movie, this just might be the one for you! I know there will be some who think I’m nuts and wonder why I didn’t highly recommend it and there will be some who wonder why I didn’t just come out and say I don’t recommend it — it is that kind of a movie! And…..I really can’t use my usual movie criteria – I did chuckle a little here and there, but I didn’t cry, I didn’t really fall in love with any of the characters (although I did feel for some of them), and I didn’t leave feeling good — tense and confused, yes, but not good! 🙂

But, don’t let me stop you from making your own decision or relying on others who advise you……..cause I’m just way too torn on this one!

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