Christine Lucas (Kidman) is a forty-year housewife who suffers from amnesia, over night her brain resets to her mid twenties and each morning she is faced with confusion, anxiety and an overwhelming amount of information. Her somewhat unforthcoming husband Ben (Firth) explains the situation every morning, wearily but patiently.
Then, as soon as Ben leaves for work, the phone rings and a man calling himself Dr Nash (Mark Strong) explains to Christine that he has been helping her to remember. He instructs her to find a camera that she herself has hidden and on which she has recorded a video diary.
Soon Christine discovers that Ben has been keeping secrets, the biggest being that she wasn’t involved in an accident, as he claimed, but that she was the victim of a brutal assault. And that she has a child, a boy who he says has died.
Slowly memory flashes start to puzzle bits of Christine’s past together and she is left wondering whom to trust.
Before I go to Sleep plays with the viewers expectations of certain actors and creates a tense triangle between its three main characters. However it’s somewhat unsatisfactory ending ruins the believability.
Kidman has played the vulnerable women-on-the-edge before and the role of Christine, while performed well, doesn’t seem to stretch her abilities at all leaving the viewer with a slight sense of déjà vu.
Firth on the other hand seems to enjoy the departure from his usual cuddly-stiff moral British male stereotype. And Strong is perfect for the ambiguity of the role of Dr Nash.
As suspense thrillers go Before I go to Sleep is good with a few faults. The story is interesting enough to hold your attention but it just feels a little lacking. And while the co-stars are well matched the characters aren’t as fleshed out as they could be. The suspense and shock is mainly driven by soundtrack surges and good cinematographic direction and not the emotional drive of character interaction. This leaves you wondering if director Rowan Joffe relies too heavily on his team.
Overall 92min of watching a middle aged women trying to figure out who she is may not be your cup of tea but if you enjoy a bit of suspense and thrill Before I go to Sleep could be a good appetizer to the highly anticipated Gone Girl out later this year.