Before I Go To Sleep: Film Review

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This has been out for a while but I finally managed to see it! The reviews I had read weren’t exactly exuding enthusiasm for this movie so my expectations were very low but my love of the book by S. J. Watson meant that I still desperately wanted it to be good. And it was, so I am satisfied.

Nicole Kidman stars as Christine Lucas, a 40-something woman who wakes up every morning without memory. She lost it in an “accident” in her 20s, and she has not been able to remember anything overnight since – she can remember everything throughout one day but it all slips away while she sleeps. She sees a man in her bed who tells her that he is her husband Ben (Colin Firth) but Christine’s visits to her doctor (Mark Strong) reveals that Ben is not as truthful as seems. She keeps a video diary in a hope to unlock memories… but what will she discover?

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This is a tense thriller but certainly very slow-burning. It moves along at a glacial pace but things would unravel too quickly otherwise, so I like that, because you need to slowly fit pieces of the puzzle together and work out, along with Christine, what the truth is – what happened to her? And what is Ben hiding from her? Although I had read the book, I was still deeply involved and wishing that she would record everything so she would not forget it the following day. If you look at it too closely, there are number of things that are implausible or don’t quite add up, in both the book and film. For example, how did she remember to do that?

Kidman was a great cast but I think the strength lies with Colin Firth. Just when I lost hope in his acting due to Magic in the Moonlight, he hits back with this. It was very clever casting and I enjoyed seeing a new side to him, because he is always playing the nice guy so it was interesting seeing him as someone a bit creepy/dodgy. Mark Strong was a clever choice too because he is usually associated with bad guys role so you automatically assume he will be that here.

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The big reveal is great and so-so tense. I loved the crescendo it reaches and Firth was brilliant there. Christine records her diary via video here, whereas it is a standard diary in the book but I understand why I did that. However, it does mean there is fair bit of a repetition as Christine has to re-watch her old entries. I did have a couple of very minor issues  – they revealed ‘the accident’ too soon in the film, whereas we were kept guessing very ages in the book, the details of their son are different and I was constantly distracted by Kidman’s hair and the occasionally shot where her lipstick looked weird.

As far as book to film adaptations go, this is pretty damn good. You have to suspend your belief a little and just roll with it and then you will be fully wrapped up in the mystery and will be on the edge of your seat as the plot nears its conclusion.

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