** Spoiler Alert – Parts of the movie “Gone Girl” are described in the post below **
Nick and Amy. Amy and Nick. Who are they really? Characters in Gillian Flynns novel transformed into the sensational cinema hit “Gone Girl. Nick the malignant narcissist. Amy, his borderline sociopathic wifey. The imperfect beautiful couple. I went down to Union Square, in NYC, to the Regal theatre located in the epicenter of the most plugged in center of the universe! I needed a distraction and, being a reading addict of the grossest proportions, read this gem 2 years ago, knew the plot line, and was curious to see the plot unfold in technicolor before my eyes. The theatre was packed, jamming with 20, 30, 40, New York City hipsters , boomer, tourists, all eager to watch the suspenseful debacle unfold!
The book presented an attention grabbing dissection of two young married people fronting, posing, pretending ,ultimately unravelling, the energy of their toxic emotions exploding, their psychological dysfunction, their blatant narcissism, their empty souls spewing cinders of their crumbling relationship. Love gone wrong.
This film, portrays a scenario, where “WHO are you?” Is key. Nick thinks he knows his wife, but nothing could be further from the truth! While caught in his narcissistic web, Amy plots in full view his demise. She will not allow him to escape without paying for his dismissive, inattentive failure as her husband.
The seventies movie, ” Waiting for Mr. Goodbar,” reminds me of the neurotic interplay where you know the characters are dodging a mental minefield, a neurotic brainstorm, which could explode at any moment. Yet, they seem so charming, so friendly, so attractive! And it’s all a facade. A lie. Like Amy and Nick. Pure crap!
Many artists share that mentality. The genius/narcissist promoting himself as god, while simultaneously torturing the people who have the misfortune of fate to show up in their personal lives. Ugh. It’s the crazy maker looking for that special candy, feeding his hunger for more crazy. The crazy that makes him feel ALIVE! Picasso did it with his many submissive women, victimizing, abusing, ruining them, and…….Gertrude Stein, with her self indulgent, obsessive writing, that insane repetition and her statements of deluded grandeur! Road kill incarnate! Can’t stop reading, while loathing her narcissistic ploy as she identifies as “genius” .
Stein cuts and caters to the artists in her ex-pat Parisienne world. She makes or breaks by her acceptance or her rejection, the artists seeking recognition. Stein, star – maker incarnate, unsurpassed in her mind of complete authority and power! She pens the “Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas.” In it she pretends she is her lover, Alice, writing through her mind’s eye. In it, she identifies her take on real genius. There are three. Picasso. Herself. And Alfred Whitehead. No shit Sherlock! Only a narcissist could write ” a rose is a rose is a rose” and call it literature! But she is not alone! There are so many others. Ever read the journals of Anais Nin?
In Norman Mailer’s expose, “Genius and Lust,” he delves into the artist/narcissist enigma, with a scalpel, revealing the complicated world the narcissist dwells, especially in the artist role relating to another artist also narcissistic. Miller and his lover, June-two narcissists , recounted in his 1600 page novel, depicting his affair and marriage, “The Rosy Crucifixion”. A complete failure as a novel, because as Mailer’ critique states, “the narcissist suffers from too much inner dialogue. These words turn us away from the psychic reality. The narcissist is the scientist and the experiment in one.” It’s a turn off.
Miller’s lover and literary cohort, Anais Nin, shared the bond of loving themselves more than they could ever really love each other, in spite of their rapturous physical love affair. Nin’s journals are love letters to herself. They are written on infinite pages, gushing word vomit, about her, from her, into her, etc. If you manage to get through one of her famous “Diaries”, you will be so overwhelmed by her personality and throbbing EGO, that the prospect of reading another is daunting! I dare you to try! Every thought, every idea in her head, is placed on her personal operating table for dissection. She performs the autopsy and, and the results are her own. Whatever she wants them to be. Nin is detached and aloof to other people unless they are as consumed with her as she is with herself. An impossible task, because her narcissism is all consuming. Miller, himself the obvious protagonist, in his “Tropic of Cancer” , and the rest of his tropics, is the center, the beginning ,middle, and end of his realistic fiction, unraveling the tales of his starving, lust consumed days in Paris. On and on he goes, leaving nothing out, he is so important and simultaneously so grotesque. “Narcissists after all do not hand emotion back and forth through their bodies so much as they induce emotion in one another through their minds.” Nin and Miller. Miller and June, “electric and empty, perfect and hollow” – Mailer says it !
Picasso, also a narcissist, his self love, reveals an ultimate disregard, a brutality, towards the women in his life, described vividly in Francois Gilot’s “Life with Picasso”. Picasso was the center and circumference of his being, and the specks of humanity he encountered outside were irrelevant. His art was the penultimate cause d’être of his being. Ferdinand Olivier, his first love, was treated like his slave, as she froze and starved while he toiled away in the Bateau Lavoir, proving his genius, painting canvas after canvas, while keeping his prisoner captive in the pitiful shack of a studio, not letting her go out unless he accompanied her, as she froze, huddled on a straw cot, trying to keep their love alive, through her worship of her lover’s art.
But the narcissist fails in this in the end, because the underlying problem with the narcissist is boredom. “Vanity is the antidote to claustrophobia.” It is the reason narcissists like Miller, Picasso, Nin, are forever falling out of love, jobs, places, and addictions.” Mailer has his magnifying glass, highlighting this phenomena in his “Genius and Lust.” Boredom is the catalyst that sends the narcissist hunting for new supply to live his otherwise empty life with the blood of his new chosen victim.
In “Gone Girl”, we observe the classic narcissist husband floundering in their marital cesspool with his borderline wife. What a crazy mix, a real bond, they possess, feeding off each other in their vampiristic thirst for survival. Of course, they destroy themselves individually, and each other, as their need to consume the others attention becomes fatal, when satiated, they are left alone to drown in their own personal self love. These two neurotics cannot exist as a couple. Impossible! As Amy festers in her rage and the need to exact revenge and punish Nick, Nick portrays the ultimate narcissistic failed artist. The writer who quits, delusioned, but so self-absorbed, he is oblivious to the contained rage his wife is consumed with. The narcissist’s attention is all about him, blind to what’s going on around him, only to be shocked when the blowback spins him back into reality! Reality is not pretty for the artist narcissist, living in a dream world of himself and the art he creates. It is difficult to see anyone outside of that bubble world. Diego Rivera’s relationship with Frieda Kahlo was one of the Narcissist with the sickly borderline female. Textbook. His multiple affairs, and personal successes in the art world left little for her, but she clung in desperate dependence , accepting her second place status as all she could maintain in his life. Her death would not be from her paralyzingly illness, but Rivera’s abandonment of her! She hung on for “dear life”.
In “Gone Girl”, Amy does fight back, as she attempts to hold onto a shred of pride, as she sees Nick’s abandonment as a cruel betrayal. She is not about to allow him to win! Her revenge is exact, thorough, and evil. He is left spinning in the wind, her intent, a success, until the end where we are left with a question. Who is the real winner here in this twisted psycho drama?
The life of the artist, in whatever the particular genre may be is one of focus, isolation, imagination, and genius. These qualities can lead to an over obsession with ones own inner life to the extreme. Often there is nothing left for anyone else. The failed artist is at risk for this as his failure won’t be accepted or admitted to, but rather the fault of extenuating circumstances, people, events. Nick, the failed writer had to find another exciting channel, to obtain the supply narcissists thrive on. The vampire’s blood so to speak. Amy had to punish him, in order to claim his attention once again. And like the vampire draining his victim, of their life’s blood, their pursuit of more victims continues to keep them alive. The hunt makes the victims being pursued ru . The vampire needs the supply, in order to live. His victims need the narcissistic vampire in order to feel alive! Their death is his life! While his life becomes their death! A paradox intrinsic in every narcissists life!
Truth or Fiction????