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Amy Dunn: The Female Psychopath

Updated: Jun 22, 2023


Thriller and suspenseful movies dominate a sphere that continuously experiments with pushing characters toward psychological extremes. American Psycho, No Country For Old Men and Nightcrawler are just a few examples of brilliantly crafted films showcasing these characters and the discreet havoc that is unleashed through their cold and calculated actions. We must, however, note that these representations typically feature male characters, isolated from society and denying their association with normal functioning citizens. Similar characters told from the lens of a female psychopath are often far and few and do not hold nearly enough influence as these characters. That is until Rosamund Pike delivered her 'cool girl' monologue as Amy Dunn.



Amy's 'cool girl' monologue has become an iconic, fresh, and sophisticated part of her character's individuality. While male characters are often shown to be within positions of control or aspiring to achieve it, Amy is stripped of that control in the first place, leading her to stop being the 'cool girl'. She stops being the stereotypically defined perfect woman that a man desires. She refuses to cater specifically to her lover's personality and continue to meet his unrealistic expectations. While Amy's character is crafty, calculating, and most definitely a psychopath, a message of empowerment is still evident. The previous movies with male protagonists also deliver stories of empowerment for them, but the way these characters carry out their self-interests makes them memorable even now. One might argue about right or wrong but all of these characters reject the principles that society would have them follow to carve out their twisted path, defying not only stereotypes but also the established norms. It makes one think how long it could be before something we readily accept presently might become repulsive and unacceptable to society down the line.


Gone Girl, however, could take the crown for pushing these boundaries to the extreme, showing manipulative tactics that make us forget the admiration for Amy's empowerment and instead fearful that someone we surround ourselves with: a partner, a friend, or an acquaintance, might also have such monstrous intent hidden away. She ends up being called the most assertive representation of a 'sigma female', a supposed lone wolf that exercises her wants and desires, irrelevant to any societal peril.





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Great post! This film is super interesting in the way it explores its themes. You raise important points about the empowering nature of Amy's character, despite her being a psychopath. Her 'cool girl' monologue is so well-known and pretty significant in what it says about notions of the ideal woman. I've met women who 100% agree with her and some who 100% disagree; it sparks interesting conversations. I think expanding the range of female character archetypes allows for more nuanced storytelling and a more accurate reflection of the human experience. It's just so much more interesting when it's something we've rarely seen on screen.

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Khadija Nasir
Khadija Nasir
Jun 22, 2023

Amazing blog! I loved your chosen topic, and this is such an intriguing film. Since the gone girl came out, I've seen many more films follow the narrative of deadly female leads and men placed in an exploitative role. It; 's been called the Gone Girl Effect, and it's getting popular now. I liked this film mainly because of its many twists and turns. With Amys character being so deeply flawed it was interesting how the audience could still side with her. She was neither a hero nor a villain, and while her methods were deeply troubled, most people were still rooting for her. She presents a step away from the typical vengeful wife who finds out about a cheating…

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loved the read!

Amy's character is multi-dimensional, incorporating both her psychopathic tendencies and her intelligent and strategic nature. The film delves into her intricate planning, revealing her ability to manipulate others to serve her own agenda. A narrative analysis reveals, the lengths some individuals will go to achieve their desired outcome, without remorse or empathy for those they hurt along the way.

It is important to note that the portrayal of Amy Dunn should not be considered representative of all female psychopaths, as each individual is unique. However, by bringing attention to the existence of psychopathy in women, "Gone Girl" prompts discussions about gender biases in psychological studies and challenges societal assumptions about female behavior.

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Amy's character reflects upon the wider issues with power dynamics and gender stereotypes within relationships. Her conformity to her husband's and societal expectations and her manipulative actions to frame her husband show the clear shift in power dynamics. Gone girl put me in a grey area when it came to deciding what was the morally correct thing to do, part of which may have something to do with Amy's husband cheating on her which made her actions almost justifiable. Her portrayal as a damsel in distress was captivating to watch because it challenged traditional expectations of the man being intelligent enough for a bluff that Dunn pulled.

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This blog post offers a thought-provoking analysis of Amy Dunn's character in Gone Girl and the portrayal of female psychopaths in thriller movies. It's refreshing to see a discussion on the scarcity of influential female psychopath characters and the impact of Rosamund Pike's performance as Amy Dunn.

Amy's 'cool girl' monologue indeed showcases her individuality and challenges the stereotypical expectations placed on women. The exploration of power dynamics and control in the film is intriguing, as it defies traditional gender roles and allows Amy to assert her own desires and agenda. This subversion of societal norms can be linked to Stuart Hall's idea of representation, as it challenges the dominant narratives and provides an alternative perspective on female characters.

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