As someone who read and loved the book, I will admit to feeling equal parts excitement and dread when I heard Gillian Flynn’s GONE GIRL was being turned into a movie. Excitement because, obviously, it is an amazing piece of literature rich with detail and characters who leap off the page, and as twists go it’s one of the most astounding mysteries in modern memory, but also because it was in the best possible hands with director David Fincher and a script by the author herself. But at the same time, the dread I was feeling was based on the fact that so much of Flynn’s novel, and thus its impact, is based on the internal aspects of its characters, Nick and Amy particularly, and how they craft their particular personal narratives, including where and how they intentionally lead we the audience astray.
But about twenty minutes into the film, my dread was overtaken by my excitement, because not only had Flynn managed to successfully transfer her narrative from the page to the screen, she had done so in such a way that even to a studied eye like my own it felt like a fresh narrative with new secrets to share. It was, for my money, one of the best scripts of the year, one of the best films David Fincher has ever made, and it was robbed like a bejeweled stagecoach by the Academy Awards nominations committee, who failed to acknowledge Flynn.
New YouTube channel Lessons From The Screenplay makes no such oversight, however, and has dedicated their first ever video essay to picking apart just what it was Flynn did in adjusting her story that made it so successful and in fact enviable.
This is a video every fan of the film and of contemporary screenwriting should watch at least a few times, and bodes very, very well in terms of what we can expect from Lessons From The Screenplay’s future work; I’ve already bookmarked them, and you should too.