Gone Girl, released by 20th Century Fox, and the novel ,Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn.
Last time I was writing about approaches that would enhance your book club discussion. News flash, discussions do not have to be confined to the book only. One of the ways to enhance a book club discussion is to pair it with a discussion of a film that is based on the book.
Sound good? Just know that it’s two different areas of criticism. There are critical approaches to discussing books, and there is another critical discussion that can explore differences between the book and an adapted screenplay for a film. With Gone Girl, it’s the mother lode of interesting discussion.
If you want to discuss the differences between the film and the book, you can compare how the storyline may differ, how the lead characters are different, how the setting or environment in the story may have changed, and the points of great conflict. Were they the same in the story as in the film? You can even discuss how your internal image of the characters changed as opposed to the actors chosen for the roles. Did the husband and wife look the way you imagined? If not, then discuss how and why this may have happened. Here are some questions to get you started.
1. If the screen writer is also the author of the novel, chances are the film will be as true to the book as possible. If a screenwriter has been tasked to adapt the book from the original author, this is the point of best discussion. You get to really look at the differences. You will find them.
2. Compare the major characters you’ve come to know in the book, to the characters you meet in the film version. Did the wife change in any way? Did the husband in the book change drastically in the film? Or were the book versions and the film versions the same?
3. Compare dialogue from the film to the book. Book dialogue will rarely follow the dialoged from the novel precisely. So remember key passages in the book that drive the story. These would be key scenes in the film. Were they different?
4. If the screen writer is also the author of the novel, chances are the film will be as true to the book as possible. If a screenwriter has been tasked to adapt the book by the original author, this is the point of best discussion. You get to really look at the differences. You will find them.
Because Gone Girl is so complex, there are many platforms from which to discuss both the film and the book. Let’s think about discussing the book without the film. In my last post, I talked about discussing a work from psychology. If you’ve read the book or have seen the film, you are aware of the rampant psychological overtones. A psychoanalytic approach would focus on discussing the psychology of the lead characters and how it affects their behavior. What is going on in the mind of these characters that would affect their actions toward other people, their successes or failures, their ability to function from day to day?
Gone Girl is a perfect study in psychology. Clearly the husband and wife and complicated, secretive, insecure people constantly hide their true selves. When you are discussing Gone Girl from psychology or what we in academia would call psychoanalytic criticism, here are a few questions to help you get there.
1. How does emotional repression govern the behavior of the husband and wife in Gone Girl?
2. How can the husband’s and wife’s behavior be explained in psychological concepts such as: fear, doubt, sexuality, jealousy, repression, love, insecurities, self-esteem?
3. Discuss the unconscious minds of both the husband and wife. Freud believed the unconscious part of the mind that houses desires and drives exist, but people are unaware of them. How would these unconscious drives and desires affect the husband and wife in Gone Girl? Is there obvious psychological baggage affecting how they deal with each other and others?
Next time, discussing a book from the starting point of gender…