Each week, we analyze a movie that illustrates a logical fallacy you’ll find on the LSAT. Who said Netflix can’t help you study? 🎥📖
Did you know that you can attend the first session of any of our online or in-person LSAT courses absolutely free? We’re not kidding! Check out our upcoming courses here.
I love a movie that delivers exactly what its title promises. And Gone Girl in fact features a woman who disappears. It’s also devilishly unclear, based on the title, exactly how that disappearance happened. A title that promises what the movie delivers without spoiling the twist? Gold.
Gone Girl tells the tale of Nick and Amy Dunne, played by Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike. Continuing his trend of not being blown up in a movie (I mean, seriously, he’s starred in a ton of Michael Bay films and has yet to get exploded), Affleck plays the disaffected and philandering husband of the woman who will disappear.
On their anniversary, Nick returns home, only to find his wife missing. The cops show up, blood is found, and, eventually, a trail of clues leading back to Nick is discovered. Most damning? A diary, written by Amy, describing their dissolving relationship and her fear of her husband.
Jump cut. *Spoiler alert*
Amy’s fine. She’s planted all the evidence, including the diary. It was written solely to implicate her husband. There were also a lot of other Machiavellian and brilliant steps in her plan, but let’s focus on the diary.
A diary—like witness testimony—has one huge, underlying assumption beneath it: namely, that what is stated is truthful. Now, everyone embellishes a little in their diary, but most of us expect that it somewhat accurately recounts the trials and troubles of our day-to-day lives. After all, who would lie to themselves completely in a document that isn’t meant to be seen by others?
Someone who’s actively trying to deceive.
And that’s a problem on the LSAT. Not just active deception, but also when someone claims something based on bad information. In short, whenever there is a person on the LSAT who offers a premise as to what they believe, think, or say, it could be wrong. That person could be lying, like Amy, or just plain wrong about the facts, like…well, almost every politician.
So don’t take their word for it. This Perception vs. Reality fallacy (the difference between what people say/believe, and what is true; also, the difference between what is true, and what people believe) is a flaw that shows up in many LSAT problems.
Of course, there’s much more to Logic Games than simply understanding logical fallacies. Check out our Logic Games Strategy Guide for a deeper dive. 📝
Want to learn more about LSAT Logic Games? Don’t forget that you can attend the first session of any of our online or in-person LSAT courses absolutely free. We’re not kidding! Check out our upcoming courses here.
Matt Shinners is a Manhattan Prep instructor based in New York City. After receiving a degree in Biochemistry from Boston College, Matt scored a 180 on his LSAT and enrolled in Harvard Law School. There’s nothing that makes him happier than seeing his students receive the scores they want to get into the schools of their choice. Check out Matt’s upcoming LSAT courses here!