Gone Girl: Book Vs. Film

        By Cassandra Eiler

David Fincher’s Gone Girl experienced much success and gained a great amount of popular attention after its release in October of 2014. The movie continued to receive praise around the Academy Award buzz, as Rosamund Pike was one of the nominees for Actress in a Leading Role. Although Julianne Moore ended up with the Oscar, many fans still believe that Rosamund Pike deserved the award. With the Oscars — and the renewed attention to the film — just over a month ago, I decided to take a look at Gone Girl and use a different approach to analyzing the film. In this study, I compare the movie to Gillian Flynn’s novel off which it was based.

Here are the top five differences between Gone Girl the novel and Gone Girl the film:

5) Amy’s Clues

First off, in the novel, the clues that Amy left for Nick contained two parts: one card is a love letter and the other card is the clue. The movie leaves out the love letter aspect of the clues entirely. Potentially, the love letters could make Amy seem even more like the victim, as if she is still attempting to work on their marriage, which would make her fake death more believable. In addition, the book version has Amy leaving four clues as opposed to three. The film didn’t include the third clue, which leads Nick back to a place where he had a childhood job.

4) Amy’s “Scene of the Crime”

While investigating the scene of the crime — the Dunne residence, the police discover that a large quantity of Amy’s blood has been spilled (and poorly cleaned up) on the kitchen floor. When we see Amy demonstrating the steps of her plan later in the movie, we see that she uses a needle to drain the blood from her arm and then she pours it on the floor. In the book, though, she actually cuts her arm, causing the bloody mess on the floor in a dissimilar way. This difference mainly focuses on Amy’s character and whether she’s calculating enough to use an IV for the blood spillage or whether she’s more brutal and will just slice her own arm.

3) Hilary Handy: A Missing Character

The movie includes two references to people highly affected by Amy in her past. This leaves out one of the other characters mentioned in the book that plays a role in identifying who Amy really is and her potential motives. Hilary and Amy were best friends in high school until Hilary started to get more popular than Amy. Then Amy manipulated Hilary into starting to act like her (dying her hair, saying strange things to Amy’s parents, etc.) in order to make Hilary appear as the mentally unstable one. This turned everyone against Hilary until she escaped from Amy’s life. This could’ve added an interesting twist to the film since it shows Amy’s variety of victims as both men and women.

2) Desi’s Murder

If you’ve seen the movie, you’re unlikely to forget the brutality when Amy slices Desi’s throat with a box cutter while they’re in a highly sexual scene in bed together. The book has Amy slipping Desi sleeping pills in a drink so that she can slit his throat as he sleeps. The film version is a much more aggressive and action-filled murder, so I’m not completely surprised with this inconsistency although I am unhappy about it. Personally I’m not a huge fan of shock factor scenes and details that exist for the sole purpose of being shock factors because I think it takes away from the creativity and depth of the story. In addition, the fact that they changed what I’d consider to be a somewhat major detail from the book just to include something more gruesome seems a little unnecessary to me, and this also changes Amy’s character based on her actions.

1) Amy Returns Home

In the film, Amy decides seemingly out of nowhere to brutally cut the throat of the man who tries to save her life. Then she returns home to Nick and tells him that they’re going to be a happy family again. Honestly, this seems perplexing as to why and how she came to this decision. The novel explains her motives better though. Instead of just being the guy who obviously cares for her, provides her with an amazing place to stay, and gives her food and money, Desi is much more overprotective and controlling. The book describes him as not letting her leave or have money or do anything, and he’s at the house a great deal of the time, always watching her. In addition, Nick participates in more televised interviews, fake begging Amy to come home and trying to convince her that he loves her. Amy actually believes him and wants to go home to him because she changes her mind about their relationship. In the end, she has to kill Desi in order to escape, but the movie depicts Desi as a complete victim undeserving of such a fate. With these changes, Amy’s motives seem very skewed and uncertain. This difference — along with the others mentioned here — all seem to take just a little bit away from the film if you know the actual facts of what happened in the book.