As you’re probably noticed Gone Girl has been something of a hit with the cinema going public of America, yet many feminists have also accused it of sexism.
The use of the classic manipulative femme fatale drawn from the usual Biblical sources has caused umbrage.
However what also can’t be denied is the popularity of both the book and film with many modern women.
When I attended a screening on Friday night it was noticeably how many women were going to see the film.
So what gives? What is the reason for the female love of something that on many levels might be seen as portraying them in a bad light?
My own explanation lies in thinking of another film with a unforgiving female lead, Fatal Attraction. In this eighties thriller a deranged and spurned woman played by Glenn Close pursues cheating Michael Douglas. (as an aside the oft heard term ‘bunny boiler’ comes from one particularly rabbit unfriendly scene in the movie.)
Yet the difference between the two films is marked.
Whereas Glen Close’s character is ultimately revealed to be vengeful and deranged, she is not shown to be smart. Her actions are the result of raging emotions and an unbalanced mind.
By contrast Rosamund Pike’s character Amy is whip smart, thinking ahead and planning meticulously. One might say she may be mental but she’s brainy with it.
In fact spoiler alert, she is able to escape retribution for her actions which included murder and at the film’s end remains totally in charge of her dolt husband, ably played by Ben Affleck.
To be this wicked in the pursuit of your desires and succeed in getting them is on some level a female desire. For it affords women a chance to escape judgment by outsmarting those judging you. Indeed Amy plays with societies perceptions of women to achieve her ends.
Men in this film are the victims making it a highly unusual spin on the parade of crime dramas that revolve around the murdered female corpse.
In an age of greater female empowerment Amy is the ultimate anti-hero, who uses the basic weakness of men (their predictability, their ego, their lust) to undo them.