On Friday night we saw Gone Girl, David Fincher’s adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s insanely, insanely popular novel. Being in a cinema with people who weren’t already familiar with the plot’s twists was entertaining, and the movie was slick and Fincher-ish.
Steph Convery wrote about some of the things that I found concerning about the book when I read it, namely that the eponymous Girl does things that really disgusting men accuse women of doing – faking rape for sympathy, faking pregnancy to entrap men – but that we know that women almost never do, and that the book therefore gives credence to these accusations. In Steph’s words,
When I read the book, and when I watched the film, I tried to put my discomfort about all that to one side and to give Gillian Flynn, a intelligent, educated, adult woman, credit for also being familiar with these political problems with her work. In this New Yorker article, Richard Brody makes a case that there are “equal measures of misogyny and misandry in the film, and that they join in a ‘tender misanthropy’”; his view is that both film and book are instead an exploration and perhaps condemnation of the state of modern marriage.
I want to agree with him. I want to be able to look more deeply into this thing, which is an immensely popular piece of literature produced by people at the tops of their complementary games, and find a twist in the stereotype that matches the twists in the plot. But then I imagine people sitting in cinemas and living rooms across the world receiving further confirmation that women are vicious, manipulative, lying sociopaths, and it makes me feel slightly sick.