But even if Gone Girl is just sort of accidentally feminist, so what? The film is a bracing corrective to years of thrillers on screens both big and small that reduce their female characters to victims designed to die because they were the wrong kind of woman, or married the wrong kind of man (which was completely their fault, of course). They are bait, or objects to be protected, not characters in their own right. And even when these movies try to turn their female characters into something more, they tend to fetishize those characters’ suffering — as, ironically, happened in Fincher’s own Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. But Gone Girl is different. It takes a character who would just be a corpse in so many other stories and turns the entire movie over to her.
Even if Gone Girl is just sort of accidentally feminist, so what? The women in Gone Girl, like the women in too many movies, have had their agency taken, have been stripped of their power, by their husbands, or by their boyfriends, or by their parents, or by the system, or just by the horrible turns a life can take. But Amy refuses to accept this. She pushes back toward the center, and she takes what’s hers. (x)