Gone Girl: Misogynist or Feminist? Who Cares?

I just watched this movie and I loved it! I was planning on reading the book first but I’m stuck in a rut lately. I’ve not finished a damn book for months; I think I need to have my internet taken away!

Anyway, I now realized what everyone was raving about. Gone Girl is an absolutely smart and unique take on the mystery and thriller genre. The plot was a bit outrageous but not entirely implausible.

Relating to the feminist context, I thought the movie is very feminist but after seeing that shocking scene with Barney, I mean Neil Patrick Harris, and Amy’s (SPOILERS!) eventual return to her husband, Nick, who’s now afraid of her, I thought that’s a bit misogynistic. But who could blame him really?

The story turns the battered wife-abusive husband trope on it’s head. In Gone Girl, it’s the wife who’s a violent pyschopath who manipulates her victims and audience to her bidding. What’s interesting is everyone’s reaction to what was happening. I’m sure that the media won’t be so forgiving if it was a man who came back bloodied after murdering a woman, even if that woman kidnapped him and used him as a sex slave, meanwhile causing his wife to become a suspect in his “murder.”

It’s fascinating how Nick (Ben Afleck) in the end, feels trapped by his marriage to a woman he’s afraid could hurt him in his sleep. It echoes the majority of battered women trapped in a loveless marriage, forced to live under the thumb of their male partners.

On the other hand, I thought that the movie is also feminist as it shows that women can take control and direct their lives to where they want to be (although faking your death to frame your husband might not be such a good example to women). She used every weapon she had, including her sexuality, to get what she wants.

The very open ending of this film might cause frustration on the part of the audience but I don’t mind it at all. It allows us to imagine how their lives would become. Would he finally get the guts to leave and get a divorce? Would she eventually get a gun and shoot him in the head as he snores? (And sing “he had it comin'” “he only got himself to blame…”) Or would the town wake up to a murder with Nick Dunne holding the box cutter, this time?

We may never know…