4 Reasons to Reread (or Read!) Gone Girl Before Seeing the Movie

Gone Girl

Spoiler Alert: If you have not yet read this deliciously evil book, stop after this paragraph. But first, while I have you here, person who has not read Gone Girl—I highly recommend it! Not only is it electrifying and impossible to put down, but the movie is going to be even more enjoyable if you’re already familiar with the storyline. So if the upcoming film (in theaters October 3) has got you curious, definitely check out the book first, guys and gals.

I’ll be the first to admit I was late to the dance when it came to reading Gone Girl. I didn’t pick it up until nearly everyone else I knew had finished it months ago, during a frantic, hermitlike weekend of binge-reading. (Which is also how I read it once I finally picked it up, but anyway.)

That said, though I read Gone Girl for the first time only recently, I decided to give it a reread to refresh my memory in preparation for seeing the movie, and I’m glad I did. The second time around, I discovered so many great, juicy scenes and details that I’d missed, or simply forgotten. The book is such an intricately wrought masterpiece, so full of diabolical plot twists, that having it fresh in your mind will make your trip to the movies this fall that much more fun. In case you need a little more convincing, here are 4 reasons fans should reread Gone Girl before it hits the big screen:

For a Refresher on the Elaborate Plot (Within-a-Plot-Within-a-Plot)
Part of what makes Gone Girl so gripping is the way the novel begins with a series of conflicting—and increasingly sinister—he said/she said accounts. The flashbacks between past and present advance the story so cleverly it’s worth going back and savoring the way the pieces fall into place once you already know the endgame. Plus, when you’re firmly grounded in the book’s events, you’ll be able to sit back and enjoy the way the film handles them. I for one suspect that the interweaving of Amy’s diary entries with Nick’s present-day suspicious behavior has the makings of cinematic gold.

For the Stellar Cast of Characters
Sure, we all remember Nick and “Amazing Amy” Dunne. But let’s not forget Go, Nick’s irascible yet vulnerable twin sister, or Amy’s parents, the pompous children’s book author duo of Rand and Marybeth Elliot. Equally crucial are the detectives who investigate Amy’s disappearance, the shrewd Rhonda Boney and her inscrutable partner, Jim Gilpin. And of course there’s Amy’s ex, the mysterious, manipulative Desi Collings, and Nick’s unpredictable girl on the side, Andie Hardy. Last but not least, don’t forget Shawna Kelly, the overly enthusiastic search-party volunteer who cozies up to Nick with her frito pie.

Once I refamiliarized myself with these great (read: often mean, petty, narcissistic) characters, in all their fictional glory, I got even more excited about the film’s casting. I now think golden boy Ben Affleck is going to be the perfect Nick—and the idea of the beautiful Rosamund Pike as Amy has definitely grown on me. And the moment I learned Neil Patrick Harris was playing Amy’s ex Desi, I squealed involuntarily. Page or screen, you can’t beat this cast of characters.

For the Many Flashes of Brilliance
Gone Girl is filled to bursting with smart, sharp-edged truths and indelible moments. To choose just one, here’s Amy’s genius tirade on the mythical “Cool Girl”:

Men always say that as the defining compliment, don’t they? She’s a cool girl. Being the Cool Girl means I am a hot, brilliant, funny woman who adores football, poker, dirty jokes, and burping, who plays video games, drinks cheap beer, loves threesomes…Cool Girls never get angry; they only smile in a chagrined, loving manner and let their men do whatever they want.

I for one had forgotten about this acerbic little gem of Amy’s, and I can’t wait to see if it makes it into the movie.

And then there’s the unforgettable moment, which we’ve already seen in the movie’s creepy trailer, during which Nick smiles his golden-boy, dirtbag smile for the news cameras—in front of Amy’s missing person poster. Scenes like these are part of what made Gone Girl such delightfully vicious fun, and it’s worth revisiting them to see how (and if) the film does them justice. (And I have the feeling it definitely will.)

Author Gillian Flynn wrote the screenplay for the film adaptation of Gone Girl, which is exciting enough—but she also made it known that, in order to keep fans of the book on their toes, the ending in the movie will be different. Although it usually bothers me when film adaptations diverge too far from a book’s plot, I’m intrigued by this one, since it’s coming from the same brilliant, twisted mind that originally wrote the book—what a treat! And, whether or not you loved the novel’s shocking, controversial ending (and there are many who will argue passionately both for and against it), you have to admit that watching for the movie’s divergence from it is going to be quite enjoyable—particularly if the book is fresh in your mind.

Are you planning to see Gone Girl in theaters?

  • http://www.goodreads.com/joeleoj Joel Cunningham

    i listened to nearly all of the Gone Girl audiobook during one long, sleepless night with a colicky infant. Just thinking about it fills my brain with pins and needles.

  • sweetdee

    Saw it in theaters last night (without re-reading the book beforehand) and Gone Girl definitely lived up to my expectations! Flynn wrote an excellent adaptation.

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