Very rarely do we get to see a movie featuring a character as complex as she is. We don’t get a lot of those types of characters, especially female ones, portrayed often. And because of that, people tend to have mixed views about her, and the film/novel itself—whether it portrays a feminist heroine or a misogynistic “crazy bitch” stereotype.
The story revolves around what is probably the most f—ed-up marriage ever, featuring an unfaithful husband and a wife who’s not exactly innocent herself, either. On the morning of their fifth wedding anniversary, Nick Dunne finds his wife, Amy Elliott Dunne, missing, and it seems that he’s the prime suspect of her disappearance. Turns out, she framed him, setting up a highly intricate and elaborate scheme to take revenge on him for his infidelity, among other crimes he’d committed against her and their marriage.
This is where the argument kicks in, of whether or not she’s a feminist, a misogynist, or a misandrist? Or possibly a combination of the three?
Gillian Flynn, the author of the novel and and the screenwriter of the film, has received a lot of backlash and accusations of writing a character so evil she’s definitely a misogynist. In some ways, I kind of agree: Amy fakes sexual assault a couple of times, despite the true fact that almost all women don’t lie about being raped. She expertly manipulates men and commits murder, validating the notion that “bitches be crazy,” and that’s the exact opposite of a feminist heroine, right?
True, Amy is no saint, but her rage is not unjustified, either. Flynn defends her, saying that by classifying Amy as a villain, people are falling into a trap of what they think feminism is. It’s like they’re not allowing a woman to be anything but a loving, caring angel, when a woman can be so much more. She says she mourns the lack of female villains—truly terrifying women who are simultaneously realistic. (Though not too realistic that you’d encounter such a murderous woman in your life, hopefully.)
Another argument is that of the “Cool Girl” spiel, which was heavily rewritten for the big screen adaptation. This entire speech was what really captivated audiences to the novel because lots of women agree—“Cool Girl” is the girl they know they should be to get the guy. It’s such a misogynistic view of women, because it says that women should be whatever her man says she should be. And the feminist aspect of it is that it exposes this situation that a lot of women see themselves in, and in the story, this “Cool Girl” image is used by Amy to her advantage. She uses it in order for us to sympathize with her plight, despite the fact that it’s the plight of a psychopath.
Personally, I’d go with Amy, because I live for female anti-heroes. We don't get to see protagonists like her that often in movies. Say what you will about her, there’s no arguing that she’s an interesting character.
(click photos for source)
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