Film Review: “Before I Go to Sleep”

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Before I Go to Sleep, 2014

dir. Rowan Joffe

★★★★☆

As the quotes on the top of the poster say, Rowan Joffe’s thriller based upon the novel by S.J. Watson is classy, clever, and enjoyably twisty. It’s got the same general premise of 50 First Dates (I know, Adam Sandler, ew), which could be a bit off-putting, but by the second minute of this film, you will already be hooked by the mystery behind Christine Lucas’ amnesia.

Every time Christine waked up and learns something new about her own life with the help of Dr. Nash, the plot thickens, and from the beginning we, much like Christine herself, never know who to trust.

There is an intimate quality to the direction by Joffe which puts us right inside Christine’s mind, and we know just as much as she does, no less. There are a few jump-scares, which are excusable because they just accentuate how lost Christine feels in this world she knows nothing about. It is deeply unsettling, but in a thrilling way.

However, the film mostly rests on Nicole Kidman’s shoulders, who carries Christine with impressive vulnerability. She is a a true “strong female character”, who takes charge of her own recovery even though she doesn’t remember anything, and who fights and fights for her own life. Kidman shows extraordinary strength in this, and makes Christine a true human character.

The supporting characters are also brilliantly played in this. Mark Strong delivers a sympathetic doctor to whom we feel drawn instantly; Colin Firth is deliciously complex, showing different facets every time he’s on screen, and sharing amazing chemistry with Nicole Kidman; and while Anne-Marie Duff isn’t in this a lot, she is still a ray of sunshine, a beacon of hope for Christine, and in her eyes we can see she is absolutely trustworthy.

Though by no means a perfect thriller, Before I Go to Sleep is successful at delivering complex characters, and a moving story. Don’t miss out, go see it now!

review by Mariana Duarte

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