Weaving the Perfect Tale: What I think Gone Girl is Really About

    “It’s a very difficult era in which to be a person, just a real, actual person, instead of a collection of personality traits selected from an endless Automat of characters.

And if all of us are play-acting, there can be no such thing as a soul mate, because we don’t have genuine souls.”   – From Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

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So last week I did some Monday Sharing and shared a couple articles about Gone Girl. I meant to write something much lengthier about Gone Girl, but alas, time has gotten away from me and I do not think anything I could say about Gone Girl will be as hot as it would’ve been about a week ago. However, I do want to put in my two cents, if only briefly.

Gone Girl is a classic story of boy meets girl that collapses into the ultimate marriage gone wrong. We all know this. We know the basic premise but there are so many layers to this story. The layer I want to focus on, and what I found most thought provoking about this novel and film, is the message it sends about media, narrative, and truthfulness.

He writes for a mens magazine. She writes personality quizzes. The film and book both capture a literary couple who fall in love with each other’s uncanny ability to conduct clever conversation.

Gone_Girl_movie_photoMy take away (granted I am spouting opinion and not including as much evidence as I’d like) is that this film boils down to narratives, how we understand them, and which we accept. The capital “M” media and people in general seem to accept the stories they want to hear. The reason Amy is able to get away with so much is because she is a MASTER story teller. She knows the selacious gossip viewers want, the media in the film liked hating Nick, people like seeing home life drama, and liked seeing Nick declare that he was a stupid male.  Amy knew that people would accept Amazing Amy as a rape victim, but they would not and could not fathom her as a murderer.

And the reason she was able to hold on to Nick? He needed the role that she gave him. He desperately needed it.

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As a result, she maintained control.

I think this film showed just how much media relies on manipulation and an understanding of what viewers will tune into, read, and click. Perhaps being an author is also a way of being a manipulator.  By writing with the intention to create a desired effect, authors and filmmakers have the ability to make people feel what they want them to feel. It’s a little scary if you think about it that way and it gives our media architects so much power, it also gives someone like Amy, who can craft a real but unreal life drama down to the last detail, a lot of power. Maybe people are so fascinated by this film and book because it presents scenarios in which the right story, real or unreal, can create an inescapable stir. And because it features an individual who  is able to exercise complete control over truth and that maybe the false truth is just as good, or even better than the real truth.

To keep with tradition my Monday sharing is an interview with Gillian Flynn. It focuses on her choice for the ending.

and a bonus, since we are on the topic of lives changed by the media: Monica Lewinsky launches a campaign to end cyber bullying

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