Monday, 18 January 2016

Before I Go to Sleep - film review

S.J. Watson's bestselling debut novel Before I Go to Sleep must have been a challenging book to adapt for film. Rowan Joffe took on the job a couple of years ago, and I think he made a good job of it, rather better than one or two reviews I've read suggest. And the key to the success of the film, for me, was the small but superlative cast. It was also very sensible (as it usually is) to keep the running time short - slightly over an hour and a half.

Nicole Kidman is Christine, the woman who keeps waking up to the nightmarish reality that she can't remember anything about her life. Each day, she has to be reminded by Colin Firth that he is Ben, her husband, and that some years back, she suffered a terrible accident which caused her to lose her memory. But it soon emerges that it was no accident. She was attacked by someone in a hotel.

She receives daily calls from a doctor, played by Mark Strong, who says he is trying to help her to recover her memory. But it soon becomes clear that he is attracted to her. What exactly are his motives? Can she trust Ben? And what part in her life was played by a friend called Claire (Anne-Marie Duff)?.

I've seen Nicole Kidman excel in a number of different roles; here, she is quite outstanding. Firth and Strong both have a powerful presence on the screen, and the combination works very well. Even though I'd read the book, I found myself gripped from start to finish. Definitely worth watching..


pattinase (abbott) said...

Yes, the reviews put me off and I have to saw the book had some significant holes in the plot, but I will try it based on this review.

Martin Edwards said...

Let me know what you think about it, Patti.

Brad (ahsweetmystery) said...

I highly enjoyed this film, Martin. I found it to be an excellent psychological thriller with some nice twists and a quite poignant ending! Thanks for reminding me!

Clothes In Books said...

I agree with you! I was much more impressed with this film that I was expecting (especially given that I had read the book) - I thought it was short, gripping and full of atmosphere.

Martin Edwards said...

Brad, Moira, thanks - glad I'm in good company on this one!