ENTERTAINMENT
10/09/2014 08:45 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Is The Representation Of Amy Misogynistic? And Other 'Gone Girl' FAQs

20th Century Fox

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What the heck is this I am hearing about the movie version of "Gone Girl" being misogynistic?
There are some reviewers who have put forth the idea that there are issues with the limited access to Amy's perspective in the film or, as Amanda Dobbins wrote over at Vulture, that it "took a story about the worst impulses of a straight woman and turned it into a feature-length film about a dopey man."

I guess there is a lot more focus on Ben Affleck. Are the feminists upset because we see his penis?
No, we won't speak for all of them, but it doesn't seem like too many feminists are worried about those .003 seconds of film time. The idea that "Gone Girl" has a woman problem is based on its robbing Amy of her perspective, which is so present in the book. The shift to Nick's point of view dramatically alters the narrative.

But a woman wrote the book and the movie! That means it can't have a woman problem. That's science.
That is not science, but it's true that Gillian Flynn wrote the script. The problem is that it's hard to give Amy's thoughts enough weight. Because of the way the story has to be set up onscreen, you lose touch with each character's narration, and that hurts when such a profoundly psychological novel transitions to the screen.

What about the "cool girl" speech? I thought that was a good woman thing.
The "cool girl" speech is amazing in the book and good in the movie. It's very revelatory of the way we perform for our partners, and the way anyone in a relationship (but especially women) has to grapple with unrealistic expectations as a result of gender norms. Unfortunately, we don't see a ton of Amy as the "cool girl" in the movie. So, instead of Amy illustrating this kind of feminist quandry, it becomes, as Anne Helen Petersen wrote over at Buzzfeed, a movie about a "crazy fucking bitch."

Wait, isn't there another interpretation of this though? I thought the "cool girl" speech was the reason this movie is feminist.
There's definitely a feminist interpretation of both the book and movie. There is a reading of the film, as Todd VanDerWerff wrote at Vox, as "a forthright depiction of the ways that society controls women and forces them into certain roles, then lets men basically do whatever they want." But since the movie cuts out so much of the inherent theater of those gender roles and instead focuses so heavily on Amy's psychosis, some of that nuance is lost.

Okay, but why are we calling this feminist or misogynistic or anything ... isn't Amy just a psycho?
We actually spoke to a psychiatrist and asked him to diagnose Amy, if you're interested in that. That question you just asked is part of the argument Lauren Hans made over at Salon. "The lady fakes her own murder in order to put her cheating husband in the electric chair," she wrote, "And still readers have referred to Amy as a 'kind of feminist' and an 'unlikely heroine.'" Except, it's not really that simple. "Gone Girl" is a dark satire, so saying, "Oh, she's just crazy!" is a bit too surface-level. Also, she can be "crazy" and allow for these misandrist and misogynistic readings.

I still think she's just crazy.
I think that's what critics would call the "trashy airport novel" interpretation.

Follow Lauren Duca on Twitter: @laurenduca

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