NO SPOILERS – DON’T WORRY.
Look, I’ll be the first to admit I’m not the first to come up with a think piece about Gone Girl, director David Fincher‘s recent blockbuster thriller based on the bestselling novel by Gillian Flynn. Most of those think pieces have focused on whether or not the film’s portrayal of Amy (Rosamund Pike) is misogynistic and how this fits into Fincher’s larger oeuvre.
Although these are interesting and important questions, I’ve noticed that no other writer has tackled what I see as the most important issue I found myself pondering while I watched: why doesn’t the film have a pee break?
For those who have yet to see the film, I won’t spoil anything, other than to say it is incredibly long. Although I’m certain Fincher did not intend for viewers to feel the sort of preposterous discomfort I felt, as an artist, he is responsible for knowing the context he is working in. Most human beings have bladders of non-infinite size, and they will take those bladders into the theater no matter how badly Fincher might want them to assess a film solely based on its non-urinary merits.
Although I have not read the book, from what I understand, it has an entirely different, more nuanced take on this issue. Apparently, you can put down the book to go pee at anytime and pick up right where you left off when you’re done. I’ve even heard some claim they read the book WHILE peeing, but I wouldn’t want to put too much stake into those claims without actually trying it myself.
I realize it’s not fair to put all the blame on Fincher, however. Gillian Flynn herself actually wrote the adapted screenplay, and the movie theater owner probably could have chosen to add a pee break if he or she wanted.
There’s a moment late in the film (I won’t spoil it, but if you’ve seen it, you know the scene I’m talking about) where it seemed like it was about to end, but then it kept going for another hour or so, and I honestly didn’t know how to feel. On the one hand, I wanted it to be over so I could empty my bladder, but on the other hand, it truly is an engaging film.
And honestly, that’s part of the problem. Perhaps if Fincher had made a less engaging film, I would have simply walked out for a few minutes, not worried about missing anything good.
Obviously misogyny and our culture’s constant unfortunate treatment of women is a far more important issue, I’m certainly not denying that, but I was disappointed to see literally zero other writers address the pee break issue. On the contrary, in Jessica Goldstein’s admittedly interesting and well-reasoned think piece for Think Progress, she says of the film: “It is two and a half hours that whooshes by in what feels like two and a half minutes.”
“Whooshes by?” Perhaps if you weren’t drinking a large soda it does, but that was certainly not my experience. In conclusion, I’d like to restate my enjoyment of the film, but I do worry it stands to join Fincher’s Fight Club in the pantheon of films loved by a loud minority for all the wrong reasons, and films that do not stop for a few minutes to let you empty your bladder.