When a Good Girl Goes Bad

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October 27, 2014 by Judith Liebaert

I went to see Gone Girl last week. Talk about a gal who’ll stop at nothing to rid herself of a man with whom she’s grown disenchanted. It prompted a conversation with my husband in which I told him (no offense or threat intended) that it was a good thing women are creators by nature and not destroyers, else there would be a whole lot of men sitting in prisons or disappearing into the night never to be seen again.

Gillian Flynn, the author of Gone Girl, is receiving accolades for her work (both the book and the screen adaptation she wrote) mostly because this level of dark brutality isn’t expected from women writers. Or maybe it’s just that it hasn’t been acknowledged before this.

It seems I read that Sue Grafton, author of the popular series of books with alphabet titles – A is for Alibi, B is for Burglar and so on – plotted her first book while lying awake nights thinking of ways to do away with, or at least get even with, her ex-husband.

Back to Gone Girl (as in gone bad, really bad). It sparked recollections of my favorite women-over-the-edge-movies. If you like to peek into the devious feminine mind, I’d recommend seeing Gone Girl before it leaves theaters – then follow up with any or all from the list below, all available for streaming from Amazon or Netflix.

  • Witness for the Prosecution – and oldie but goody, this classic courtroom drama – murder trial will keep you guessing until the final verdict. And who says love is dead when a woman will perjure herself to save her husband? It’s what she’s saving him for that will surprise you.
  • Diaoblique – another oldie this movie was originally filmed and premiered in France in 1955, but there are several newer adaptations, including an 1996 version in english and the earlier, 1993 House of Secrets starring Melissa Gilbert. The plot puts an interesting twist on the gaslight genre and what happens developes two women put their heads together. Just remember, when keeping your friends close and your enemies closer, don’t get them confused.
  • Body Heat – Speaking of doubling down, the captivating Kathleen Turner (at the height of her sex bomb days at the time of this movie) not only disposes of one bothersome rooster, but two – with the proverbial one stone; the best part is she doesn’t even have to get her hands dirty throwing it.
  • Too Die For – is a slightly campy delight focusing on a media-stardom obsessed, femme fatale. It will take you down a rabbit hole of disbelief; meaning you can’t believe how effortlessly she mesmerizes a slew of minions to do her bidding, and yet you can.
  • Sea of Love – the ending in this one is a bit different from the rest of my picks, and isn’t quite what you expect, but it will still leave you wondering if the guy needs his head examined—the big one on top of his shoulders. There’s plenty examining of his little head going on (though it didn’t make a screen debut as did the over exaggerated package of Ben Affleck in Gone Girl).

Turns out only two of my picks were written by women, Agatha Christie’s witness for the prosecution and Joyce Maynard’s To Die For, and even those were adapted to screenplay by men. In fact, it took a total of four men to wrap their brains around the devious workings of the feminine mind to bring Diabolique to the silver screen.

Whether adapting or writing original screen plays, it seems apparent men know what we might be capable of when or if we were to give our dark thoughts reign over more than paper, stage or film. You’d think that would make them treat us with more respect, or at least start sleeping with one eye open because, just sayin’— Burning Bed?

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