Gone Girl

January 12, 2016


Marriage requires a commitment. At least in theory. It requires a dedication, even sacrifice, to another for the sake of the betterment of each individual in the union. No marriage can possibly be impeccable, whereby it is flawless from trials and tribulations. It those those hurdles, those challenges, within each one that can either make it stronger and the commitment to each soul more enduring – and arguably the most enduring obligation one human being will ever submit to or accept – or one that will make an easily shaken matrimony collapse like a house of cards. More so than ever today, it is convenient to simply abandon ship and set a new course on the seas rather than persist and repair the vassal from the inevitable storms that rock it.


Here in Gone Girl, we have a marriage that is unhappy, for both parties. Both parties are imperfect with their warts and all. Yet instead of an effort on both parts to seek compromise, to mend what has become broken, there is instead vengeance. The movie is clever for us to sympathize with the husband only because the narrative must be taken from his point of view in the beginning. And this is a self-derided “flyover boy” who moved to the Big Apple to pretend to be something more important than he actually is in life. A magazine editor, a writer, who has the outside chance of doing actual writing, of contributing actual literature – but that takes ambition, something he lacks the moment it becomes clear he is content with resettling in the middle of nowhere USA where he was born.


On the contrary, is his wife, who feels cheated and exploited by his slothfulness, who he has used as a cushion when things got rough but never actually cared to stand back up. Her resentment is never visibly shown in the film. In fact, she remains very stoic during the entire film, which provides a legitimate sense of sociopathy to the character. She simply feels wronged and trapped with someone in hindsight she would never marry. Yet, instead of seeking to work something out, albeit always easier said than done, she seeks an extravagant implosion of her wedding vows. Is this simply the act of a deranged person toward her marriage, or does this signify the vacuousness of marriage? We don’t in other words, know exactly why these two bothered to become married in the first place, or why the wife did not end the marriage sooner. Perhaps to save face? Perhaps even in this age of whimsical wedding bands it is still humiliating to end a marriage to some people? As it indicates a failure in life, which is necessarily a bad thing? Perhaps the entire plot could have been avoided had the two had an actual plan on how they sought to live their lives out together for better or for worse?


Grade: B+



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