Before I Go to Sleep

Film, Thrillers
  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • 4 out of 5 stars
(17user reviews)
0 Love It
Save it
Before I Go to Sleep

If there was as much injury-related memory loss in real life as in the movies, we’d all be walking around with pillows Sellotaped to our heads. This latest high-concept amnesia thriller stars Nicole Kidman as Christine, an English woman who can no longer store memories after a random attack. Every morning she’s back to square one, waking up in bed terrified, next to a man she’s never seen before. Turns out he’s her husband Ben (Colin Firth). If that’s not enough to deal with, as soon as he leaves for work, the phone rings. It’s Dr Nash (Mark Strong), a neuropsychologist who tells Christine he’s been treating her against Ben’s wishes.  

Which man is the villain? The truth emerges in a video diary Dr Nash asks Christine to keep. Casting Firth and Strong is genius: it’s possible to buy both of them as knights in shining armour or simmering psychopaths.

As a thriller, ‘Before I Go To Sleep’ is perfectly effective, but while director Rowan Joffe keeps the twists coming, something about Kidman’s blank, frosty performance is unconvincing. Near the end, the excellent Anne Marie Duff pops up as Christine’s old friend – and you can’t helping wondering what the film would have been like with her in the lead.

By: Cath Clarke


Release details

Release date: Friday September 5 2014
Duration: 92 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Rowan Joffe
Screenwriter: Rowan Joffe
Cast: Nicole Kidman
Colin Firth
Mark Strong

Average User Rating

3.8 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:3
  • 4 star:10
  • 3 star:2
  • 2 star:2
  • 1 star:0
3 people listening
critique _

Amateurishly scripted and directed, this plodding "thriller"`s biggest sin is that it is so utterly uncinematic. The better US and UK TV dramas are more cinematic than this. Three of my favourite actors are wasted in this dull effort.


Interesting story with at least one twist which took me by surprise. It seems that the plot is very faithful to the novel and it's attracting criticism from fans for being too predictable.

Personally, I thought that Mark Strong and Colin Firth put in good performances as the "Is he? Isn't he?" potential villains of the piece.

The weakness of the film is that it all hinges on Nicole Kidman as memory loss victim Christine. She turns in another frozen faced performance as the confused and terrified heroine. Each day begins with a shot of her eyes darting around the room; clear or red-veined depending on the trauma she has experienced the night before... It's not a good sign if an actress's eyeballs are working harder than she is!


Enjoyed film - would probably have enjoyed it more if had not read the book- as knew what was coming which removed suspense 

Craig J

Oh dear, guess it's just me. But this was no classic. One great twist does not a great movie make. The leads all tried hard to elicit sympathy but the by-the-numbers script gets in the way at every (twist and) turn. Nicole Kidman was good, Colin Firth was, well Colin and Mark Strong was sleepwalking. The 'twist' should have ignited a blistering finale but instead it all just plodded on. The hospital coda is so misplaced too. Seriously any film that still uses the 'car-drives-over-carefully-placed-leaves-on-the-road' needs to go back to the drawing board!


Delicious thriller! It manages to keep up the suspense until the end and we are desperate to find out the truth!! Nicole Kidman and Colin Firth are impressively good - recommended!

Alice K

Gripped throughout. I enjoyed the pace, wasn't too slow and kept you guessing. Incredibly twisted plot and was on the edge of my seat for the second half! Brilliant cast, especially Colin Firth, would certainly recommend it.

Samantha P

I was totally gripped! Sucked into the distrust, paranoia and tension along with the protagonist. Great acting from Nicole Kidman and Colin Firth. A few fuzzy plot points looking back but overall a class act.

Linda W

I enjoyed the film though it wasn't as good or gripping as I'd hoped. A few "jumpy" moments but I wasn't convinced with Nicole's performance or her wig! The twists kept you on the edge of the seat but some bits were predictable. I might read the book now to compare - I suspect it might be better. In summary, an ok film but at only 90 mins, some might feel robbed given the cost of cinema tickets these days!

Arina S

Not so much a thriller, but more like a mystery drama. That being said I enjoyed it and was surprised by the ending, which is always a good sign. Great acting from Colin Firth and all the cast. Thanks TimeOut!

mark s

Slow and naive at first giving you a chance to go with the film at a slow pace. A big mistake. The obvious outcome versus the suspected then twists round leaving yourself feeling as vulnerable as the protagonist Nicole Kidman. A gripping movie with a thought provoking set of circumstances presented in an unusual way. Highly recommended.

Claire T

Having read the book my expectations of this film were sky high, and I was not disappointed. Great casting, will keep you gripped right to the end. 

The Man on the Street

Just got home from Time Out Card preview screening. What an intense movie. Nicole Kidman and Colin Firth are so watchable, but it was the storyline that held my attention. Loved it.