Nicole Kidman has a memory condition that means every time she goes to sleep she loses all of her memories from that day. Through regular meetings with a neuro-doctor (Mark Strong) she begins to start to remember, but she does not always like what she finds out.
I’m going to be up front with you, I watched this for Mark Strong. And because it had Mark Strong in it I honestly didn’t care that much how good the film was (I watched John Carter for him for Christ’s sake), however it was to my great delight that I actually really enjoyed it. I have looked at the reviews, and they are overwhelmingly meh about the film I cannot see why though. It is an extremely enjoyable tense thriller.
It starts off as more of a drama about the everyday life problems caused by this extremely specific case of amnesia. With Colin Firth brilliantly playing the husband who seems dead cute and stuff, but always seems a little unnerving and possibly untrustworthy. It then slowly and seamlessly merges into an extremely tense psychological thriller, with some moments of the film being full on horror movie material. Mark Strong is fantastic (as expected) as the equally shifty and possibly untrustworthy doctor of dubious origins. It’s one of those movies in which you never know who to trust, or if you can trust anyone at all.
Another great achievement of Before I Go to Sleep is that the violence is properly shocking. As in real gasp inducing hand over mouth shocking. It’s rare in a film that people appear to actually get hurt as much as they do here. There is one point in particular that is just so un-expected that you can almost feel it yourself. This all stems from both the uneasy feeling throughout the film that sets you on edge, and also from your belief in the characters. Nicole Kidman gives a very believable performance as the woman with the amnesia. And you do start to genuinely worry about her wellbeing.
It is true that the film doesn’t really go any deeper than the surface issues of mental health, and really is just a psychological thriller. So I suppose if you went in expecting more of a drama in the mould of Still Alice or something you’d probably be disappointed, I also don’t think the trailers did it any help. But if you know what kind of a film it is, I think you will really enjoy it.