reibureibu’s review published on Letterboxd:
I've gone back and forth on Gone Girl for a while before settling on my thoughts for it. It's a movie that, like Fight Club, can be easily interpreted as an anti-feminist one that perpetuates harmful ideas about women, but I think in many ways it's pro-feminist by being neutral towards its characters.
"What are you thinking? How are you feeling? What have we done to each other? What will we do?"
The biggest thing this quashes is the idea that women are wonderful. While coined in a 1994 paper, it's an idea that draws back towards Victorian/Renaissance ideals of women as innocent, harmless creatures who would be corrupted by the innately-lustful and savage instincts of man. This comes off the back of the medieval period where the opposite was believed (men are pure and it is women who corrupt them), and so thought of as progressive, but of course it's just another form of sexism that ultimately relegated women to forced bed rest and lobotomies.
And we are still very much a product of the Renaissance. Many of our values and systems of beliefs emerged from that period – science as truth, emphasis on industry, "rationality" of man – and is why the medieval period (of which beliefs were actually vastly different) seems so foreign to us. And because of this we still have that holdover of women-are-wonderful, a prejudice that (like reverse-racism) is seen as "harmless" while being anything but.
It's funny because in a lot of ways Gone Girl reminded me of Phantom Thread. Both stories are about two people in a relationship who love and love-to-hate each other, and their arcs involve learning how to balance the two. Of course the repercussions of Gone Girl are undeniably immoral while those in Phantom Thread don't affect anyone else, but looking at just the couples I think they're two sides to the same relationship. It's just that one is fully-consensual while the other is quasi-, and as fucked up as that second one is I can only say "if it works, it works?"
"You fucking cunt!"
"I'm the cunt you married! The only time you liked yourself was when you were trying to be someone this cunt might like. I'm not a quitter... I'm that cunt."
So is Gone Girl actually a feminist triumph? I honestly don't know and I'm not sure the source material cares, but at the very least I think it pushes subtle pro-feminist ideals. Oh, and the movie is also really well-made.