Gone Girl: Why the film might just be better than the book

Where the Amy Dunne of Gillian Flynn’s novel feels paper thin, Rosmund Pike’s Amy really is amazing, says Ellie Walker-Arnott

You know how everyone says the book is always better than the film. Well, usually I agree.


I can’t bare anyone who admits to loving Harry Potter without ever having read one of JK Rowling’s words. I struggle to see how The Hunger Games even makes sense without the extra info Suzanne Collins’ novels provide.

I studied English Literature at university. Of course I’m a firm believer that you should always read the book before you settle down in your cinema seat because the text will always be richer, more absorbing and a lot more satisfying.

But I think Gone Girl just might be the exception. Because Gillian Flynn’s tale of a marriage gone terribly, terribly wrong translates so well onto the big screen I’ve almost forgotten about the book.

David Fincher’s dark and pacy adaptation – which was adapted for film by Flynn herself – is a close and faithful retelling of the clever novel it’s based upon, but it brings Amy and Nick’s relationship to life in a more rounded way. That’s mainly, I think, down to casting – and Rosamund Pike in particular.

Where the Amy Dunne of Flynn’s novel feels, at times, paper thin, Pike’s Amy really is amazing. (See what I did there?) Reading the novel and imagining Nick’s missing wife in my head, I failed to truly picture her, to piece her together, let alone fear her. But Pike’s cold, calculating and at times wickedly funny turn makes the character at once more three-dimensional and a whole lot creepier. She treads the line between victim and perpetrator perfectly, always leaving you a little unsure of your footing. 

Of course there is still merit in Gillian Flynn’s internationally bestselling novel. The film glosses over certain plot details and doesn’t quite give enough time to Amy and Nick’s life before she goes missing, omitting some of the reasons for why things turn out the way they do. But this is one tale that has truly benefited from being turned into a movie. 

And that’s not to say reading the book will in any way dampen your enjoyment in the cinema. I knew when the twists and turns were coming yet my heart was still beating somewhere around my ears and I held my breath along with the rest of the cinema.  

Really, however you watch Gone Girl, whether you read the book first, after or not at all, you’re in for a thrill. 


Gone Girl is in UK cinemas 2nd October