Analysis of Character Designs in Gone Girl

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Character Designs in "Gone Girl"

Over the years, character design has been used as one of the most essential aspects used to present different traits of casts in a screenplay. Gone Girl is a film that was produced in 2014 and falls under the category of American psychological thrillers. The film was directed by David Fincher and created by Gillian Flynn, with the same storyline as her 2012 novel that was written on the same title. Notably, the film has several stars such as Ben Affleck, Neil Patrick Harris, Rosamund Pike, as well as Tyler Perry. The film has been set in Missouri and starts as a mystery that begins with several events surrounding the life of Nick Dunne (Affleck), who is the main protagonist and becomes the key suspect when his wife Amy (Pike) suddenly disappears. On the other hand, Amy is depicted as an antagonist who has been suffering in her marriage with Nick. This paper seeks to narrate the character designs of both Amy and Nick.

Nick as a protagonist

The film's major protagonist, Nick Dunne is brought out as someone who is a reserved, misogynistic fashion-sensitive guy. His action where he does not seem bothered when his wife disappears on their wedding anniversary creates a picture of a man who does not seem to care much about his wife (Pertiwi, Iswalono & Nurcahyo, 2016). He shows his irritation when the front door is left wide open and his coffee table made of glass smashed. However, he is not scared in any way and acts normal. His actions made him appear as the major suspect in what appeared like a conspiracy involving murder. In as much as Nick had issues with his wife, he never showed any sign of murdering her. While the scene was choreographed to fix him, he was steadfast and did not despair at that particular time (Kroenert, 2014).

Nick is also presented as intelligent and tremendously handsome. Besides, Nick can also parley a number of talents into a getting a new employer in New York City. Initially, from Carthage, Missouri, his life appeared more charming when he met Amy and entered her world where there were privilege and wealth. Nick is also seen as loving as he falls in love with the lady Amy so deeply that he seeks to marry her.

Nick also has a character design depicting brilliance and resilience. Despite their marriage falling apart as a result of the strains coming from job loss, financial problems, and illnesses that affected his parents, he still respected and looked up to his wife for the brilliant brain she had. In all the decisions he makes, he acknowledges the fact that his wife was more intelligent than he was. As a result, his actions and characters indicated that somehow he respected his wife Amy (Kroenert, 2014).

In the wake of Nick's affairs, his character is mirrored as one with lots of weaknesses and the fragile identity he had, particularly concerning his masculinity. He was also fearful that he might turn out like his father who was a woman-hater, so he works towards over-compensating and self-consciously building respectful companionships with women. However, he did not communicate any real emotions or actual needs to any of his women. Furthermore, he also has a deep feeling of insecurity with regards to his manhood. Having been raised by an irresponsible father, Nick did not have any role model and struggled on his own to formulate what his thoughts envisioned in a man. It is this insecurity that Amy takes advantage of to manipulate and vilify him (Kroenert, 2014). He has also developed an inferiority complex where he says were it not for Amy, he would not be a man. Nick as a protagonist also shows the character design of patience when he stayed in a highly abusive marriage.

Amy as an antagonist

As the major antagonist, Amy's character designs show a vengeful person. By watching the movie, it is evident that Amy is obsessed with taking control and paying back any wrongs done to her, even if it means getting her husband jailed. Still, looking at Amy's character evolution, it is easier to help her in understanding her obsession with taking control of others. The desire to revenge and control others is so bad that it creates enough evidence that she suffers from Spoiled Only Child Syndrome. However, her issues went beyond problems with entitlement. Consequently, she does not just have the urge to force people to give her whatever she needs, but she also wants their undivided attention. She is so aggressive that she goes to great lengths in ensuring that she punishes Nick, even if it means faking her death (Kroenert, 2014).

Looking at Andie, for example, Amy blames her for making her family fall apart. In case Amy had not discovered anything about Nick's extra-marital affair, she could have possibly avoided framing him for murder. Amy was also so smart that Nick could not realize that she was only acting like a cool girl. She was so bitter she felt divorcing Nick was not going to make her feel better. She had to teach him a lesson by ensuring he went to jail. She felt that Nick had never been taught any lesson despite his mistakes and he had to be taught some serious lessons that will make him regret for the rest of his life. Her eyes were filled with revenge and rage and she was ready to do just anything to hurt Nick (Pertiwi, Iswalono & Nurcahyo, 2016).

The film also enables the audience to look at Amy's character design by checking on the power of her malevolence that eventually fails to have an impact on Nick's life. Amy also turns out as suicidal as she plans on killing herself once Nick was already jailed. That way, she could feel a sense of justice (Hudzaifah, 2016). Amy's even willing to kill herself to ensure that justice, as she understands it, is served. Amy was also secretive since she hid all her bad intentions from Nick and pretended to show love without raising any suspicions when her heart oozed hatred (Achiro, 2015).

In a nutshell, the aspects of character design for the protagonist and the antagonist have been presented in a way that enabled the audience to get the best concerning the storyline and the plot. Through the use of Amy and Nick, the director is able to use two individuals to create a better understanding of the challenges people go through in families. The character designs of the two casts have also allowed the viewers to ensure that they grasp the details of the film.


Achiro, R., 2015. A case for Amy: Sociopathic rage in the era of marketing personality.

Hudzaifah, A., 2016. Psychological Oppression towards Amy Elliot Dunne in Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl (Doctoral dissertation, UIN Sunan Ampel Surabaya).

Kroenert, T., 2014. Gone Girl promotes conversations about misogyny. Eureka Street, 24(19), p.7.

Pertiwi, G. W., Iswalono, S., & Nurcahyo, R. 2016. Amy’s personality Disorder in Flynn’s Gone Girl: A Psychological Approach. Sastra Inggris-Quill, 5(1), 65-73.

September 25, 2023




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