Movie Review: “Before I Go To Sleep” – A Poorly Executed Tragedy

Written by Josh Bornais November 20, 2014

"Before I Go To Sleep Poster

I recently got the chance to watch Rowan Joffe’s movie, “Before I Go To Sleep”, a movie that brings back the film noir genre that was popular in the 1940’s and combines it with the thriller genre. Joffe attempts to combine film noir with a typical thriller in this movie and does it in a very unique way. “Before I Go To Sleep” tells the story of a woman with amnesia who can not remember anything past her early 20’s. This movie had a lot of potential and had a lot of great ideas in it, but it failed to grasp my attention at times and it did not execute the ideas it presents very well.

Nicole Kidman stars as Christine Lucas, a typical housewife who has amnesia and is unable to remember anything after her early 20’s. Every single time she falls asleep, all of the new memories she gained that day are lost as well. Every morning she wakes up in a yellow house with a man named Ben (Colin Firth) who tells her that he is her husband and that they have been married for 14 years. She then also gets a call by Dr. Nash (Mark Strong) who instructs her to go to her wardrobe where she finds a camera that she uses as a secret video diary. Both men, however, are keeping a lot of things about Christine’s past from her and throughout the movie you try to guess which man is leading Christine astray: Ben, Dr.Nash, or both.

“Don’t Trust Anyone!”

In terms of playing on the mystery aspect film noir is known for, “Before I Go To Sleep” does a good job portraying a mystery theme and this is done by Christine receiving tons of outside help trying to find out more about her past. Both Colin Firth and Mark Strong play their roles as Ben and Dr.Nash very well. Ben is a more gentle and heartwarming character and Dr.Nash is an obvious villain and both Firth and Strong execute these roles very well. Nicole Kidman’s performance as Christine Lucas is also well executed, she really makes you believe she is a miserable woman who has lost herself.

"Before I Go To Sleep" Scene 1

The sequence of the movie is not as well executed as the casting was for the characters. Every time Christine finds out something about her past, it is due to a highly improbable event. Also, the Christine character does not keep my sympathy throughout the film since her memory loss prevents her from developing as a character. Although mystery is well executed in this movie, a couple of things tend to get repetitive at times. When Christine remembers the first thing about her past, the movie shows a great flashback scene portraying that past, however, it is not to be forgotten that scenes like this happen throughout the movie and are very predictable after the first.

“Before I Go To Sleep” is presented with a very minimal story line with a small amount of characters (there are only 7 with dialogue). Considering that the budget for this movie was very small, this doesn’t come as a surprise; but I feel like Joffe could have done a lot more with the characters and the story to not only emotionally grasp my attention but also to make the movie feel more complete. Even though the film was short, it tended to drag along making this 92 minute movie feel like a 2 hour film because of the minimal and repetitive themes presented in the movie.

"Before I Go To Sleep" Scene 2

Overall, “Before I Go To Sleep” was an OK movie. The casting was very well done but the script made the film more predictable and less enjoyable. The idea of a woman getting her memory back after getting amnesia should be an emotional story, but Joffe does a bad job executing this. Would I ever want to see this movie again? Probably not.

My Rating: 6.5/10

"Before I Go To Sleep" Poster 2

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