The movie follows the novel closely; both move at a breakneck speed. The overall arc of the story remains the same in the film as in the novel. Still, in adapting the book for film, some changes had to be made. So, how closely does the movie stick to the book? Closely enough that, if you have read the book, there aren’t spoilers below. If you have not, however, spoilers abound.
Nick and Amy’s Courtship
In the book, Nick and Amy (Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike) meet-cute at a party in Brooklyn thrown by one of Amy’s friends. They leave together, then immerse themselves in a romantic cloud of powdered sugar wafting off a late-night delivery to a local bakery. All this occurs in the movie. In the movie, though, over eight months go by before Amy runs into Nick again (seemingly randomly) on the street. This part is completely cut from the movie, as is the inside joke that reunites them: “Just one olive.” However, Flynn added a bit about Nick’s chin being untrustworthy, an inside joke the two share throughout the film.
In the movie, Nick proposes to Amy while at a book party for her parents’ latest Amazing Amy book. The event occurs the night before she runs into Nick and leaves her devastated about her marriage prospects. The moment in the film turns out to be a much happier occasion as Nick proposes to her in front of the nosy guests after two years of dating.
In the movie, though Amy writes a good deal about her and Nick’s early relationship, she never writes about how Nick proposed to her. The film also skips Amy’s stories of taking care of Nick’s dying mother, of Nick skipping their anniversary to go to a strip club with laid-off coworkers and her suspicions of his cheating.
The Number of Clues
Nick only has to travel to three locations to find Amy’s anniversary clues in the movie: his office (where red underwear is found), his father’s house (where Nick forgets the alarm code) and the shed behind his sister Margo’s house (where Nick finds all of the items he denies having purchased on his credit cards, including the Punch and Judy dolls). However, one clue is absent from the film: Hannibal, Missouri, where Mark Twain grew up and where Nick spent his childhood summers. In the old courtroom of Mark Twain’s father, Nick finds a long note from Amy saying, “You are WITTY” as well as the next clue.
Nick and Amy’s Memoirs
Completely missing from the film is any mention of Nick and Amy’s respective memoirs. In the book, over a week after Amy’s return, Nick begins writing a book about his side of the story so that he can “burn their relationship down” and leave her for good; he spends his nights furiously typing it up. Amy begins her own memoir, which she intends to call, simply, Amazing.
As in the book, Amy, unbeknownst to Nick, kept semen of his frozen when they were trying to have a baby, and she impregnated herself after returning home. After learning that she is pregnant and that he is the father, Nick, in the novel, deletes his book at Amy’s request, feeling defeated and trapped into becoming the father he had always wanted to be. However, in the film, he slams her against the wall before reluctantly revealing the news during an on-camera interview with media star Ellen Abbott.
The Rebecca Interview
In the book, a young reporter named Rebecca talks to Nick in the bar and gets him to say he loves Amy. The interview wins him back some public favor. This scene is missing from the movie.
Leave it to David Fincher to make an already-gruesome scene even more disturbing. In the book, Amy drugs Desi before cutting his throat and murdering him. In the movie, she does it mid-sex with blood spilling all over her, her white bra and the white bed. (Amy’s fake story to win Desi’s trust in the first place – that her father sexually abused her is also missing, as is Desi’s mother).
In the comment section below, let us know whether you enjoyed the movie or novel better.