The 13 Biggest Differences Between the Gone Girl Movie and the Book

6 minute read

The film version of Gone Girl, which hit theaters this weekend, follows the novel closely: both move at a breakneck speed and the plot twists are the same. (And yes, despite rumors to the contrary, the film does having the same ending as the novel.) But there are a few things that author Gillian Flynn altered as she wrote the screenplay version of her New York Times bestselling novel.

Here’s what changed:

(Warning: There are spoilers for both the book and film versions of Gone Girl ahead.)

1. The Eight-Month Gap

In Flynn’s original book version, after Amy and Nick meet for the first time, they don’t see each other for eight months until they meet again (seemingly randomly) on the street. This part is completely cut from the movie, as is the inside joke that reunites them: “Just one olive.” However, Flynn did add in a bit about Nick’s chin being untrustworthy, an inside joke the two share throughout the film.

2. The Proposal

In the movie, Nick proposes to Amy while at a book party for her parents’ latest Amazing Amy book. It’s a charming scene, but it’s not in the book. Though Diary Amy writes a good deal about her and Nick’s early relationship, she never writes about how Nick proposed to her. The movie does, however, skip Amy’s stories of taking care of Nick’s dying mother, of Nick skipping their anniversary to go to a strip club with laid-off coworkers and her suspicions of his cheating.

3. The Mall Investigation

In the book, Nick, some friends and Amy’s father go to the abandoned mall with baseball bats to confront the out-of-work Blue Book Boys about Amy’s disappearance. It’s there that they learn Amy tried to buy a gun. In the movie, it’s the detectives who go to the mall and discover this crucial piece of information.

4. The Number of Clues

Nick only has to travel to three locations to find Amy’s anniversary clues in the movie: his office, his father’s house and the shed behind his sister Margo’s house. Director David Fincher and Flynn cut out a clue from the book that led Nick to Hannibal, Missouri (home of Mark Twain), a place he has visited with both Amy and his mistress Andie. The movie also skips Amy’s loving notes to Nick that make him fall back in love with her during the treasure hunt that say flattering things like “You are WITTY.”

5. Amy’s Fear of Blood

For a year before she fakes her death, Amy pretends to have a fear of blood–even pretending to pass out while watching her mother-in-law donate marrow–in order to throw the police off her trail when she spills her blood all over their floor. But that plot line is completely cut out of the movie. (The way she spills her blood in the movie, using an IV, is also much neater than in the book, where she simply takes a box cutter to her arm.)

6. Nick’s Father

Nick’s father plays a major role in the book: Nick talks about his father’s misogyny and his own struggle against what he says is an inherited impulse to hate women. (Ben Affleck was spared from uttering the many internal “stupid bitch” thoughts Nick has while interacting with investigators, groupies and other women in the book.) Early in the book, some readers may have even thought Nick’s father was involved in Amy’s disappearance, since he escapes from his assisted living center the same morning that Amy goes missing. It turns out that Amy secretly visited Nick’s father and encouraged him to visit the house, drawing suspicion towards Nick. But in the film, Nick’s dad only shows up once, at the police station.

7. Amy’s Parents

Amy’s parents have a much smaller role in the movie than in the book. In the book, Nick desperately needs them as strategic allies to win public favor. Amy also writes extensively about her upbringing–her mother had several miscarriages before having Amy, and named all the unborn babies Hope. The Hopes, whose birthdays are remembered every year, hang over Amy’s head all her life, since she will never be able to achieve the perfection of an unborn child. The Hopes are not mentioned in the movie, and Amy’s parents are basically background characters.

8. Andie Attacking Nick

In the book, Nick breaks up with his mistress Andie because his lawyer, Tanner Bolt, tells him to. Andie responds by biting Nick, a confrontation that never takes place in the film.

9. Tommy O’Hara and Hilary Handy

The high school friend that Amy accused of stalking was cut from the movie, even though she’s one of Nick’s first clues as to Amy’s duplicitous behavior in the book. And Tommy’s fate is much grimmer in the movie than in the book. In the movie, after Amy accuses him of rape, he pleads down his sentence. Nick finds him jobless and dateless in New York since he must legally identify himself as a sexual offender. In the book, he and Nick talk on the phone rather than in person and Tommy says Amy dropped the charges against him.

10. The Rebecca Interview

In the book, a young reporter named Rebecca talks Nick in the bar and gets him to say he loves Amy. The interview wins him back some public favor. This scene is missing from the movie.

11. Desi’s Death

Leave it to David Fincher to make an already-gruesome scene even more disturbing. In the book, Amy drugs Desi before cutting his throat and murdering him. In the movie, she does it mid-sex with blood spilling all over her, her white bra and the white bed. (Amy’s fake story to win Desi’s trust in the first place–that her father sexually abused her–is also missing, as is Desi’s mother.)

12. Amy’s Safeguard

In the book, Amy poisons herself with anti-freeze and then vomits it up and saves it. She threatens to use it as evidence that Nick tried to kill her if she ever tried to leave. Nick discovers the vomit and disposes of it. The refrigerated vomit is thankfully missing from the film.

13. The “Cool Girl” Speech

The famous “Cool Girl” speech was partially rewritten for the movie.


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