A while back on my blog, I wrote an article about reading books rather than watching films, settle and snooze, it basically just put across my opinion of watching a film rather than reading the book it was based on. Also a while back, I read the book Gone Girl – hugely raved about and, in my opinion, hugely disappointing! But nevertheless, I wanted to watch the film so I dragged my other half to watch the film on a Friday night (much to his friends annoyance).
If you want to read my review of the book (spoiler free) then I have written one on this blog, but today I am going to do a comparison of the two, mainly focussing on the film. This will contain spoilers so if you’re still waiting to read the book of watch the film I would advise you to read this after you’ve finished. There are massive twists and surprises in the plot, and I don’t want to ruin it for you.
As Gillian Flynn wrote the screenplay as well as the book, the film stays loyal to its paper companion. I always love to see this as I am such a big reader. The build up to the second half is still full of suspense, even though I knew what was going to happen, I still felt that tension. The film is very dark and much more shocking than the novel, I found. The ending especially – I feel Desi’s death was changed but it worked – very graphic.
Rosamund Pyke plays a fantastic Amy, portraying her standoffish beauty and cool and calculating insanity perfectly, she allows the ‘Amazing Amy’ from the book to come alive on screen. Ben Affleck as Nick was a little inadequate and I felt he downplayed Nick’s characteristics a lot. Nick seems a little more docile and innocent than he is in the book, as we do not get to see his thoughts or feelings in the film as we do Amy’s. This may be due to the fact Nick’s character is awkward and polite, which does mean he isn’t personally forthcoming, whereas in the book you are reading his personal thoughts rather than watching him. I did feel however his affair with Andy was not covered enough in the film, therefore not showing his egotistical side as much; in the book he was never at the beach he was actually with his mistress on the morning Amy went missing; however in the film he actually went to the beach, which didn’t show his negative feelings on his marriage as much as in the book, as it was his and Amy’s anniversary that day. His breakup with Andy is also not covered, and how Andy bites his face, showing a violent side to their relationship; which then leads to her revealing their affair on TV, it is a shame it has been downplayed as it shows Nick as more selfish and harder than he is within the film.
One of the things I felt the film was missing from the book is more emphasis on Amy’s childhood. Through Amy’s diary you learn that her mother had several miscarriages before having Amy, and named all the unborn babies Hope. The Hopes, whose birthdays are remembered every year, hang over Amy’s head all her life, since she will never be able to achieve the perfection of an unborn child. This is a big part of getting to know Amy and her character, as it shows how she actually had quite an unhappy childhood, living up to a fictional character ‘Amazing Amy’ and all those unborn babies her mother lost.
Another thing missing from the film that I feel is really important is Hilary Hand, the girl that Amy accuses of stalking her and wanting to be her whilst she is at school with her. You find out later on that Amy actually framed Hilary for this, as she is jealous of Hilary having more friends than her. This shows that Amy was psychotic from an early age, and it also importantly shows that not all of Amy’s victims are male. A few more missing characters include Tanner Bolt’s wife, who I don’t feel was necessary within the film; and Rebecca the blogger who helps Nick show his affectionate side to the public, however within the film this is all wrapped up into the one interview with Sharon Schieber which I felt worked well. Desi’s mother was also cut from the film, which I did notice straight away and I think was a mistake, as she saw through Amy from the beginning, and at the end of the book she tries to fight to show that Amy was not actually kidnapped by Desi. I think it would have been interesting to see a character that was never under Amy’s spell and always saw the real Amy, and how Rosamund Pyke would have shown that in Amy’s interactions with Desi’s mother.
Right, let’s talk about the ending of the film, which we were actually told would be different from the novel, as Flynn wanted to give her readers a surprise too. In the book, both Amy and Nick were writing their memoir about their experience of ‘losing’ Amy. Amy is writing a memoir called ‘Amazing’ which is full of her well spun lies, and Nick is writing a tell-all memoir about Amy, and what really happened when she went ‘missing’. I do wish this was put into the film, as I feel this touched upon the writing theme within the book, and Nick’s loss of the writing career he desperately wanted; and showed how Amy’s cruelty and revenge actually led him to have a story he wanted to write again. However Amy discovers the memoir and makes Nick delete it when she reveals she is pregnant with his child. Within the film the pregnancy is revealed differently, which also worked and I especially liked how Amy and Nick announced the news to the world through Ellen Abbott, Nick’s biggest critic.
I feel that the end scene is rushed, and it would have been better to see more of Nick’s thoughts and reasoning’s to stay with Amy. But nevertheless I did prefer the film and this is one of those moments when a film is better than its book
Have you read Gone Girl? How did the film compare to the book for you?