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BEFORE I GO TO SLEEP (review)

before_i_go_to_sleepBEFORE I GO TO SLEEP
Written and Directed by Rowan Joffé
Starring Nicole Kidman, Colin Firth and Mark Strong
 

Christine: Don’t trust anyone.

Imagine waking up in the morning next to someone you don’t know who claims to be your husband or wife. For Christine (Nicole Kidman), this is her reality, every single day, in Rowan Joffé’s latest, BEFORE I GO TO SLEEP. We have seen the amnesia theme explored before, MEMENTO comes to mind as a finer example, but unlike that film, BEFORE I GO TO SLEEP will not be remembered more than a decade later, if at all.

And so, Christine awakens to find herself in bed next to Ben (Colin Firth). While I’m sure most women wouldn’t mind waking up next to a naked Colin Firth in the morning, for Christine, this is a bit of a problem. Ben informs her that he is her husband, and after having a car accident years earlier, she developed an acute case of amnesia. He sends her to the bathroom where photo reminders line the walls, and leaves her to go to work. After receiving a call from a man who claims to be her doctor (Mark Strong), Christine is instructed to retrieve a camera from her closet on which she has been making an unsurprisingly repetitive video diary. From the videos on the camera, and information from her doctor, Christine begins to believe that the man who claims to be her husband may not be telling her the whole truth.

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BEFORE I GO TO SLEEP is a reasonably entertaining film. If that is all Joffé was going for, then he’s hit the nail on the head. Unfortunately, entertaining doesn’t cut it here. With slightly stiff acting, loads of clichés, and a ludicrous final act, there is not much to applaud about the film. These are roles that Kidman and Firth, working again after their equally disappointing THE RAILWAY MAN, could play in their sleep. Christine requires that Kidman open her eyes really wide and stare a lot, while playing Ben requires Firth to have a creepy haircut, and that’s about it.

Assuming that a viewer goes along with the thin premise of the film, they will be fine. It’s when one decides to use their brain, even remotely, that BEFORE I GO TO SLEEP ultimately falls apart. The film is almost completely devoid of a logical plot and it doesn’t take a genius to figure that out. Luckily for the viewer, you’ll probably wake up the next morning unable to recall a single frame from it; just don’t count on a naked Colin Firth lying next to you too.

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