In Defence of: Amy Dunne
Amy Dunne without a doubt is one of the best female antagonists of the 21st century.
Hailing from Gillian Flynn’s book Gone Girl, Rosamund Pike plays the titular role of Amy, the girl who spends two-thirds of the film ‘gone’. Amy is decisive, cunning and a master manipulator. We love to hate her.
Gone Girl (2014) has been debated since its film release, is Amy a psychopath, is she a feminist? I honestly think she’s both and I love it - Flynn, and consequently David Fincher (director) pit husband and wife against one another in a battle of wills and steely determination. It’s literally a film of who can outdo one another in being the worse spouse - both are cocky and selfish but for me Amy takes the cake.
This film is most famous for its ‘Cool Girl’ monologue,
“She’s a Cool girl. Cool girl is hot. Cool girl is fun. Cool girl never gets angry at her man …. I made him smarter, sharper, I inspired him to rise to my level. I forged the man of my dreams.”
At the start of their relationship, Amy embodies the ‘Cool Girl’ she drinks beer, eats burgers and waxes off all her pubic hair to please her man. She looks over his indiscretions all whilst remaining calm and collected. But this is fictional and doesn’t last very long. Nick is charming, Amy is cool and after five years of marriage, it all falls apart.
This isn’t to say that Nick is innocent, throughout the film we are subject to a look into the way in which he breaks down his wife. His cheating, overlooking her and taking advantage of her financially break Amy down - meaning that her ‘Cool Girl’ facade doesn’t last very long and instead breeds resentment.
Amy is the best ‘worst’ woman throughout the film’s entirety. She reeks of white feminist privilege (an argument for another think piece), she’s a liar and a literal murder, but she’s somehow still so attractive to an audience. Amy is oddly relatable, not in her whiteness or wealth but in her reactive nature. She reflects a fantasy, a woman on the quest to have revenge for a cheating spouse but takes your wildest imaginings and increases them by 100.
She stages her own kidnapping/murder and conveniently places her husband as the prime suspect. Not that Nick Dunne is any better to be honest, if Amy is a 10/10 narcissist, her husband is a 9/10. He takes his wife for granted and this results in the aforementioned breakdown of their marriage. And we as viewers revel in the chaos Amy leaves in her wake. Nick stumbles through two-thirds of the film into every trap Amy has left for him, through leaving her “diary” detailing of Nick’s alleged domestic abuse for the police to find, through to framing him as a serial spender of Amy’s money, Amy doesn’t hold back in her assault of her husband.
Amy is the villainous woman who wins, her plans aren’t foiled and despite some setbacks, she does well to recover a life she worked hard to make for herself. In her trapping of her husband, she secures a future laced with notoriety, not for her past but for the future she’s curated.
Amy secures entrapment of Nick for life or at least 18 years. She returns a victim of a “kidnapping”, and a (fictional) rape at the hands of her ex-boyfriend. She’s hailed a feminist for saving herself and yet anyone with a slight moral compass would be ashamed of the lengths she goes to in order to become the woman she ends the film as.
Whilst Amy is beyond reproach when it comes to defence, she makes for an amazing character who despite all her flaws, can seek redemption in a world which is normally quick to paint women as the crazy, unhinged villain and never allow for them to get their happy ending however obscure that might look.