Gone Girl

 
Violent, layered adaptation is dark but thrilling.
  • Review Date: October 3, 2014
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Thriller
  • Release Year: 2014
  • Running Time: 145 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Self-deceit will lead you nowhere; everyone has secrets; relationships have depths that no one outside of them could begin to guess at.

Positive role models

The main characters are both complex and extremely flawed. Their behavior is the opposite of exemplary. On the slim plus side, a detective sets about finding the truth, rather than easy answers. And two adult siblings are truly supportive of each other, even if they're far from perfect.

Violence

Self-inflicted pain; discussions of false rape allegations; menacing moments with a stalker; a man shoves a woman while trying to rob her; a particularly gory scene involving a box cutter used to slash someone's neck. A man is shown roughing up a woman. The plot revolves around a missing woman; broken glass and blood are found at her home.

Sex

Couples are shown having sex in different positions. There's movement that suggests what they're doing, and, in one instance, a woman's breasts are plainly visible. A shower scene shows two people from behind (and, briefly, side-flash of the man's genitals). Fairly graphic discussions of sex.

Language

Frequent language includes "f--k," "a--hole," "bitch," "c--t," and more.

Consumerism

Lots of brands/products seen and mentioned, including Volvo, Hasbro, Velveeta, Dunkin' Donuts, CBS, Coke, iPhone, iPad, Dreyers, Dell, Kit-Kat, Aim toothpaste, Big Lots, Fritos, 7-Up, Chevy Suburban, Ford, Prius, Roku.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Characters toss back hard liquor in times of stress.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Gone Girl -- David Fincher's dark but entertaining psychological thriller based on Gillian Flynn's best-selling 2012 novel -- centers on flawed, disturbing characters (played by Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike, among others). The subject matter is as grim as it gets -- abduction, infidelity, murder, betrayal -- making it iffy for all but the oldest teens and adults, who can better process the story's complicated and often violent twists and turns. Expect plenty of swearing ("f--k," "c--t," and more), fairly graphic sex scenes (including a female character's bare breasts and a couple naked together in the shower, with the man's genitals glimpsed), some drinking, and one particularly gory scene involving a box cutter.

What's the story?

On the day of his fifth wedding anniversary, bar owner Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) faces a new world order: His wife, Amy (Rosamund Pike), has gone missing, their coffee table smashed to pieces. Cops descend upon the Dunnes' Missouri subdivision to help find her, but soon all eyes are trained on Nick, who hasn't exactly been a model husband. But Amy hasn't always been the perfect wife, either. Nick has his sister Margo (Carrie Coon) on his side and soon enlists a lawyer (Tyler Perry) famous for defending the indefensible. Everyone -- including Nick, who's desperate to clear his name -- wants to know: Where is Amy?

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Director David Fincher's steady hand effortlessly guides GONE GIRL's transition from noir-ish page-turner to psychological thriller. It's a creepy, unsettling ride, testing audiences' loyalties and freaking them out a little, too, as they teeter to and fro. The book makes better work of asking salient questions about the nature of relationships; the movie amps up the source material's more tabloid-y side. It's violent, yes, but judiciously so, except for one scene that pushes boundaries -- perhaps so viewers can feel the impact, in full gruesomeness, of what humans are capable of, even if they don't appear to be.

In any case, we're riveted -- and not just because the framing and pacing and pretty much everything else about the movie are top-notch (except for the last 10 minutes, which feel tacked on), but because the leads are so compelling. Critics have long grumbled about Affleck's impenetrability. No matter who he's playing, we don't quite fully know what he's all about. But here he's totally present, and we sense his panic and confusion, anger and derision. It's quite a cocktail. But really, this is Pike's movie; in less able hands, the role of Amy, not to mention the scenery, would have been chewed to bits. Pike is precise, engaging, and perplexing. Even if you've already read the book, the film still holds your gaze.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about Gone Girl's violence. How does it compare to what you've seen in other thrillers and/or horror movies? Does the one particularly gory/bloody scene have more impact because it's different from the rest of the movie? Why or why not?

  • What role does sex play in the story? How is it entangled with violence? What message does that send?

  • Are any of the characters admirable? Are they intended to be? Who are we meant to root for/sympathize with?

  • If you've read Flynn's novel, what do you think of this as an adaptation? Is it faithful to the original story? If not, do the changes serve the film?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:October 3, 2014
DVD release date:January 13, 2015
Cast:Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Neil Patrick Harris
Director:David Fincher
Studio:Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
Genre:Thriller
Topics:Book characters
Run time:145 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:a scene of bloody violence, some strong sexual content/nudity, and language

This review of Gone Girl was written by

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Written byAnonymous October 4, 2014
age 15+
 

Teen friendly but dark and violent thriller has exictment

My rating:R for violence and language
Teen, 14 years old Written byfellaZ October 3, 2014
age 18+
 

Great movie but totally not for kids

Movie has a lot of sex scenes and strong profanity. At the end there is very, extremely disturbing violent scene a actually, the whole movie is very dark and disturbing
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Parent Written byQiDeVita October 19, 2014
age 18+
 

Horribly Misleading

Not only were the initial ads horribly misleading, the R rating gives some people the idea that it's ok to take children into a movie like this. The graphic violence, extreme foul language, horrific displays of sex and violent sex are just the tip of the iceberg. The movie is too disturbing for adults who can comprehend right from wrong. Exposing children to this is not only irresponsible, but it serves to further break down their fragile barriers of appropriate expectations and behavior at a time in their life when parents should be protecting them from the very concepts that are in this movie.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Educator and Parent Written byTeenBoyzDad October 4, 2014
age 18+
 

Intense!

No one under 21 should have to be exposed to this content, at least not in cinematic form. As an adult, I found the movie gripping, almost erotic -but boy, is that taken away from you pretty quickly! Nudity, sex- some of it pretty graphic, many sleazy people and some intense violence...definitely not for kids! The story line is incredible, though. Worth seeing.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking

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