Why Gone Girl's New Ending Is A Big Letdown

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gonegirl1Photo: via @20thCenturyFox.
Gone Girl was never supposed to be tied up simply. It is a story about love, murder, revenge, the media's treatment of the accused and the accuser. And, it raises a lot of ugly questions. (Like, what happens when the person you love is kind of truly horrible?) There is a reason that Gillian Flynn didn't give her book an easy ending.

So, when I learned Flynn wrote a new third act for the film adaptation I was disappointed. I was deeply affected (albeit, uncomfortably so) by the novel's tricky conclusion. And, I couldn't help but wonder, Why should the movie receive a different ending? Should a desire to appeal to the masses sacrifice the book's hard truths? These nasty, broken realizations end up sticking with the reader — for better or worse — long after the last page has been turned. Don't filmgoers deserve the same?

When it comes to entertainment (books, movies, TV shows), we often seek out easily understood resolutions. But, sometimes an unsettling ending is exactly what makes a compelling story. (See: Chinatown, Requiem For A Dream, heck, even Titanic.) While I didn't immediately like the ending of the book, it still gives me lingering, conflicted thoughts. Every time I see Gone Girl mentioned in a headline, the unsettling feeling returns, which is a hallmark of a good story. And, I knew it would be interesting to see how the events unfolded onscreen.

Seeing Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike bring Nick and Amy to life will add another dimension to the already very complex characters. But, it's disappointing they are missing the chance to showcase their strengths as they wrangle with the conflicting emotions of the last scenes of the story. If anything, the movie could have enhanced the reading of the book, in the same way it did with The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. The first act caught our attention; the second kept us reading; but the third act is what made the book linger. It made Gone Girl more than just another book we read. Hopefully, the movie, despite the new ending, will still have the same impact.