The 16 times ‘Gone Girl’ proved it was the perfect book adaptation

Published 10:26 am Friday, October 10, 2014

by Lauren Bradshaw

As a huge fan of Gillian Flynn’s best-selling novel, “Gone Girl,” I have been counting down the days until the film finally hit theaters. Full of incredible twists and turns, it was critical to me that the film, directed by David Fincher, didn’t stray far from its source material.

Thankfully, this adaptation does not disappoint. In fact, it is one of the best book adaptations I have seen in years (along with “Catching Fire” of course). Although this is only her first screenplay, Flynn found a way to include all of the most important, memorable scenes from the book and eliminate the parts that weren’t critical to the storyline. Actually, besides a few characters that were cut (Desi’s mom, Tanner’s wife, and Hilary Handy), I think it will be hard to identify any major differences between the book and the film.

Ben Affleck smartly called “Gone Girl” a “David Fincher love story”. If you’re familiar with Fincher’s work, you’ll be able to figure out what you’re in for: a twisty, dark, love story-turned-thriller. As one of the best films so far this year, you have to see “Gone Girl” immediately, especially since it is already generating a lot of Oscar buzz. Believe me, I have already seen the film twice in one week. You won’t be disappointed. As usual, there is a spoiler warning for those who have not seen the film or read the book!

My Review: A+

1) When it was announced that Gillian Flynn, the author of “Gone Girl,” was writing the screenplay too.

Flynn’s ability to perfectly trim the story, without cutting any favorite plot points, is a testament to both her phenomenal talent as a writer and the strength of “Gone Girl.”

2) When David freakin’ Fincher signed on to direct.

There is only one man who can bring this dark thriller to life and that is David Fincher. Known for such unsettling films as “Seven” and “Zodiac,” Fincher’s brilliance is in making “Gone Girl” look and feel as cold and calculating as its characters. The blue and yellow toned cinematography, is easily the best of the year.

3) Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross’ electric score!

4) When we found out the awesome cast list, especially Ben Affleck (Nick), Rosamund Pike (Amy), and Go (Carrie Coon).

First, let’s all agree that Rosamund is coming for that Oscar. Not only are she and Ben Affleck the perfect Nick and Amy, “Gone Girl” features the best ensemble cast of the year. There are absolutely no weak links. Even though I was skeptical of Tyler Perry as Tanner Bolt, I was happily surprised with his character.

5) “Gone Girl” is a dark drama but it has some funny bits as well!

As another testament to the talent of Flynn, the wicked humor transferred over from the book and never took away from the content of the storyline.

6) The first time we hear Amy’s voice-over and that amazing “cool girl” speech (though it was edited a bit for the film).

Rosamund Pike perfects Amy’s confident purr during every voice-over.

7) When Nick smiles beside the “Find Amy” Poster.

One of the most iconic scenes in the book has just as big an effect on the movie. We start having our doubts about Nick. What is going on in his head?

8) Ellen Abbott’s (Missy Pyle) damning Nancy Grace-esque news coverage of the “Amazing Amy Murder Case.”

As someone who has certainly watched her share of Nancy Grace, Pyle perfectly captures the essence of this incendiary aspect of crime journalism. As the actual, true details of Amy’s disappearance start to unveil, however, it becomes apparent just how dangerous these types of shows can be.

9) The first anniversary clue (and every clue after that).

The only clue that was missing from the book is the clue Amy left for Nick to find at Mark Twain’s home. These clues inevitably show how cold and calculating Amy can be, as well as remind Nick about his infidelity.

10) Nick’s cheating ways = unreliable narrator.

The first big twist of the movie. Just when you think you *know* Nick, this bomb drops. I think Go’s reaction sums up everything we are thinking. What are you doing, Nick? And how long is it going to take for this to bite you in the butt?

11) The shed full of Nick’s “purchased” loot and the Punch and Judy puppets.

Our first inclination that Amy may have known more about Nick’s infidelity than we originally thought, which all leads up to…

12) THE TWIST! You’ll have to see it in the theater!

Yep, for all of us that read the book, you know you were holding your breath and looking around the theater for crowd reactions during the giant reveal.

13) Amy’s interactions with the shady couple at the mountain retreat.

One change from the book that I LOVE is that Amy assumes this really bad Southern accent. At first, the accent annoyed me because I thought Rosamund Pike just stunk at speaking in a Southern drawl. However, as my colleague Sandie Angulo Chen so accurately pointed out, Amy is so delusional and over-confident, she would think her accent is phenomenal (when in reality it totally isn’t). A fun little Easter egg to think about.

14) Nick’s interview preparation complete with projectile gummy bears.

Flynn and Fincher found a way to fit even the most mundane, yet memorable, aspects of the book into the movie.

15) Bye, Desi!

16) The shower scene everyone has been talking about…

You know the one… where Ben Affleck gives us a preview of his bangin’ Batman bod.

This has been edited from its original version. For the longer and more spoiler-filled version, check out

LAUREN BRADSHAW grew up in Courtland, graduated from Southampton Academy and doubled-majored in foreign affairs and history at the University of Virginia. She lives in the Washington, D.C., and can be reached at