Culture Street


Film Review: Before I Go To Sleep

On October 16, 2014

By Sophia Whitfield

Based on the bestselling novel by S.J. Watson, Before I Go to Sleep is a gripping thriller starring Nicole Kidman and Colin Firth.

Christine (Nicole Kidman) wakes up every morning unable to remember who she is, where she is or who the man is in her bed. When she looks in the mirror she is shocked by her age, she thinks she is 27 but the mirror reveals a 40-year-old staring back at her. When she walks into the bathroom pictures are taped to the wall revealing her life with husband Ben.
Every morning Ben (Colin Firth) has to patiently introduce himself to his wife. He tells her repeatedly the story of their courtship and marriage. Firth completely embodies his character. It’s terrific to see him playing such a different role. He leaves the audience guessing about his motivation. Is he as charming as he seems or is there something more sinister going on?

Christine’s memory loss is the result of a terrible accident. After her husband has left for work she is called by Dr Nasch (Mark Strong) who claims they have been working together to draw out her suppressed memory. Christine keeps a visual diary using a hand held camera and every day she talks into the camera revealing what she has discovered about herself. Every morning when Dr Nasch calls she goes to the camera and presses play giving herself a brief accumulated history and in the process discovering hidden truths about her life. Kidman is often on the screen alone, in the bathroom, talking to the camera, highlighting Christine’s fragility.

Paranoia seeps in as a fractured, nervous Christine continues to question her surroundings. The house she lives in with Ben is isolated, highlighting Christine’s fear that she is cut off from the rest of the world. She has no friends and relies solely on her husband.

If you enjoyed the book you will love the film which is a true retelling of S.J. Watson’s original story.

Before I Go To Sleep is released in Australian cinemas today.

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