Film Review – Before I Go To Sleep

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Written and Directed by Rowan Joffe from the novel by S.J. Watson

Starring – Nicole Kidman, Colin Firth, Mark Strong

Christine Lucas (Kidman) wakes one morning unsure of who or where she is. Alongside her a man is sleeping. She gets up, clearly uncomfortable and leaves the room.

She returns from the bathroom to be greeted by the man sitting on her bed.

“Who are you?” she says.

“I’m your husband Ben” replies Ben Lucas (Firth). “We got married in 1999, 14 years ago.” And so begins this tense psychological thriller with Kidman as an amnesiac prisoner of her own mind, waking each day with no memory whatsoever of anything from her past. She can’t recognise Ben every morning and something about him doesn’t sit right with her. We are made to feel for him as the doting husband trying to keep his marriage together under enormous strain.

Ben has a system to help her get through each day, with written instructions on a whiteboard and post-it notes on the cupboards so she can find her clothes and food.

It doesn’t seem much of an existence, particularly as every day  Ben leaves for work leaving her home alone. One morning he goes and the home phone rings.

Uncertain what to do, Christine answers the ringing phone.

“Hello Christine, I’m Dr Nash, a clinical neuropsychologist who has been treating you for the last few weeks. Go to the bottom drawer of your wardrobe and tell me what you find.”

Following this intriguing interaction,  clues are unravelled ever so slowly about what might have caused Christine’s amnesia, and what’s really going on with her husband Ben, and the mysterious Dr Nash.

I was riveted throughout this film,  literally on the edge of my seat dying to find out what was going to happen next.

Like the recent Gone Girl, paying attention is crucial, as vital information about Christine’s circumstances are carefully revealed, building to a pretty exciting, and be warned, a gruesome climax.

It’s good, not great, and felt like it was missing a certain something. As much of the action happens inside The Lucas home, it feels very claustrophobic.

Definitely gripping, perhaps one to save for a rainy day or a long plane trip.

3 Stars.

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