Before I Go to Sleep (film)

Before I Go to Sleep is a 2014 mystery psychological thriller film written and directed by Rowan Joffé and based on the 2011 novel Before I Go to Sleep by S. J. Watson.[4] An international co-production between the United Kingdom, the United States, France and Sweden, the film stars Nicole Kidman, Mark Strong, Colin Firth, and Anne-Marie Duff.

Before I Go to Sleep
Before i go to sleep poster.jpg
British theatrical release poster
Directed byRowan Joffé
Produced byAvi Lerner
Liza Marshall
Mark Gill
Matthew O'Toole
Ridley Scott
Written byRowan Joffé
Based onBefore I Go to Sleep
by S. J. Watson
StarringNicole Kidman
Mark Strong
Colin Firth
Anne-Marie Duff
Music byEdward Shearmur
CinematographyBen Davis
Edited byMelanie Ann Oliver
Distributed byClarius Entertainment (United States)
StudioCanal (United Kingdom)
UGC Distribution (France)[1]
Release date
  • 4 September 2014 (2014-09-04) (New Zealand)
  • 5 September 2014 (2014-09-05) (United Kingdom)
Running time
92 minutes[2]
CountriesUnited Kingdom
United States
Budget$22 million[3]
Box office$15.1 million[1]


Forty-year-old Christine Lucas wakes up in bed with a man she does not know, in an unfamiliar house. The man explains that he is her husband, Ben and that she suffered brain damage from a car accident ten years earlier. Christine wakes up every morning with no memory of her life from her early twenties onwards.

Christine receives treatment from Dr Nasch, a neuropsychologist of University College London at a local hospital who gives her a camera to record her thoughts and progress each day and calls her every morning to remind her to watch the video in the camera. Nasch instructs Christine to keep the camera hidden from Ben and reveals that her memory loss occurred after she was attacked and left for dead near an airport hotel. They surmise that Ben tells Christine it was a car accident to avoid upsetting her.

Over the course of treatment, Christine faintly remembers a red-haired woman named Claire. Ben tells her that Claire was a friend who couldn't handle Christine's condition and ended contact with her. Later, Christine recalls that she had a son. She angrily confronts Ben over hiding their child, but he says their son died of meningitis when he was eight. Christine remembers the name Mike and believes it may be the name of her attacker, which she relates to Dr Nasch. He hugs her to comfort her and almost kisses her, but she pulls back and then sees her doctor's name tag and his first name is Mike. She runs from him but he catches her and administers a sedative, leaving her at home. He tells her later that she was upset and he's sorry but he doesn't feel he can treat her anymore, because he has feelings for her and her memories are causing her to project what happened onto him.

Christine learns that, several years after her attack, Ben had placed her in an assisted care facility and divorced her, then had a change of heart and brought her home to live with him. Christine learns that Claire had been trying to contact her at the care facility, unaware that Ben took her away. Christine obtains Claire's phone number from Dr Nasch and meets her. Claire reveals that Christine had embarked on an affair prior to her attack, while Ben and Claire had a one-time sexual encounter, due to their shared grief at Christine's memory loss. Feeling obliged to keep Ben and Christine's marriage intact, Claire ended contact.

Claire gives Christine a letter written to her by Ben. He asked Claire to give it to Christine should she ever be well enough to read it. In the letter, Ben tells Christine that he loves her, but that he had to leave her for their son Adam’s sake. Adam was unable to understand her memory loss every morning and when Adam would insist things happened that Christine could not remember she would get upset. Adam had begun to be afraid of her. Ben believed for Adam’s sake that they needed to leave her and he begs her to understand.

Out of gratitude for his love and care, Christine decides to let Ben see the videos she has made on the digital camera. However, Ben angrily accuses Christine of having an affair with Dr Nasch, strikes her and storms out. On the telephone, Claire tells Christine that Ben claims not to have seen Christine for several years. Claire asks Christine to describe the "Ben" she is living with and they realize he is not Ben. Christine is beginning to have more limited memories as things happen around her. Christine attempts to escape the house, but "Ben" renders her unconscious.

The next morning, Christine again awakens with no memories but she finds the camera and sees her entry saying she loves "Ben" and wants to make a life with him. "Ben" calls Christine and tells her to pack, that they are going on a trip that night. He then visits Dr Nasch at the hospital and tells him to stay away from Christine. That night, "Ben" takes her to a hotel close to where she had been found. He reveals that he is Mike, the man she had an affair with. Christine then remembers that Mike had wanted Christine to reveal their affair to Ben, but Christine refused and their argument culminated in Mike viciously attacking Christine, resulting in her amnesia. He also inadvertently reveals that Christine's son Adam is still alive. Declaring his love for Christine, Mike deletes the videos on her camera and states that he is no longer interested in playing the part of Ben. He tells Christine that they shall live together, or no one shall live. Another struggle ensues, but this time Christine knocks Mike out and gets away. She sets off the hotel fire alarm while running from the hotel and is seen telling her story on the camera while waiting in an ambulance.

Christine wakes up in a hospital bed and is visited by Dr Nasch, this time as a friend and not as her therapist. He assures her the man responsible for her condition has been arrested. He tells Christine that she has visitors and that he hopes the visit will provide the breakthrough they have been hoping for. Christine is then visited by the real Ben and their son Adam. Christine’s memories return when she sees Adam.



On 1 May 2011, Ridley Scott bought the film rights of the novel Before I Go to Sleep written by S. J. Watson and hired Rowan Joffé to direct and write the script.[4] In February 2012 Nicole Kidman was in talks to join the film;[8] later in May she joined to star as Christine.[5] On 31 October 2012 Mark Strong also joined the cast of the film.[7] According to The Hollywood Reporter on 16 November 2012, Kidman said she wanted Colin Firth to work with her again. They had already worked together in a drama The Railway Man.[9] On 6 February 2013, it was confirmed that Firth has joined the cast to lead with Kidman.[6]


The film was shot in London and at Twickenham Studios.[10][11]


The film was released in the United Kingdom on 5 September 2014 and released in the United States on 31 October 2014.


On 3 July 2014, the first UK trailer of the film was released by StudioCanal UK.[12]

Critical receptionEdit

The film was met with generally negative reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds a rating of 37%, based on 118 reviews, with an average rating of 5.03/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "If it doesn't completely avoid thriller clichés, Before I Go to Sleep still offers a stylish, fast-paced, and well-acted diversion."[13] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 41 out of 100, based on reviews from 31 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[14]

It has been unfavorably compared with Memento, a film released 14 years earlier. "What the brilliant Memento once used as a way to explore a truly inventive way of storytelling is here just a gimmick. It's shallow, it's silly, it's pat. It's... forgettable," wrote the New Jersey Star-Ledger.[15] "Christopher Nolan's 2000 brain-twister Memento starred Guy Pearce as a man with a similar malady. The earlier film rigorously stuck within the logical confines of its premise. Joffé's is filled with far too many contradictions and implausible situations," wrote The Philadelphia Inquirer.[16]

Kidman's performance has been positively received. Writing for Daily Star, critic Andy Lea said in a positive review that "Kidman puts in a chilling performance as the frail but determined Christine."[17] David Edwards of Daily Mirror stated, "Leading lady Nicole Kidman hasn't been this good in ages" finishing with "Kidman is on top form as the nervy, spiky woman walking a psychological tightrope."[18]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "Before I Go To Sleep". Box Office Mojo. IMDb. 2014. Retrieved 8 May 2018.
  2. ^ "Before I Go to Sleep (15)". British Board of Film Classification. 27 January 2014. Retrieved 30 October 2014.
  3. ^ "Before I Go to Sleep (2014)". The Numbers. Nash Information Services, LLC. Retrieved 8 May 2018.
  4. ^ a b Kidd, James (1 May 2011). "Before I Go to Sleep, By S J Watson". Retrieved 1 August 2013.
  5. ^ a b Holder, Bev (23 May 2012). "SJ Watson excited as Nicole Kidman signs up for Before I Go To Sleep movie". Stourbridge News. Gannett Company. Retrieved 1 August 2013.
  6. ^ a b c Savage, Sophia (6 February 2013). "Colin Firth Joins Nicole Kidman's Amnesia Thriller 'Before I Go to Sleep'". Indie Wire. Penske Business Media, LLC. Retrieved 1 August 2013.
  7. ^ a b Sneider, Jeff (31 October 2012). "Mark Strong set for 'Sleep'". Variety. Penske Business Media, LLC. Retrieved 1 August 2013.
  8. ^ Dang, Simon (29 February 2012). "Nicole Kidman In Talks To Star In Rowan Joffe's Psychological Thriller 'Before I Go To Sleep'". Indie Wire. Penske Business Media, LLC. Retrieved 1 August 2013.
  9. ^ Ginsberg, Merle; Baum, Gary (16 November 2012). "Nicole Kidman Wants Colin Firth for S.J. Watson Thriller". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 1 August 2013.
  10. ^ White, James (7 February 2013). "Colin Firth Joins Before I Go To Sleep". Empire Online. Retrieved 9 October 2015.
  11. ^ Mitcehll, Robert (6 February 2013). "Firth, Kidman to star in 'Before I Go to Sleep'". Variety. Penske Business Media, LLC. Retrieved 8 May 2018.
  12. ^ Anderton, Ethan (3 July 2014). "Colin Firth & Nicole Kidman in First Trailer for 'Before I Go to Sleep'". Retrieved 4 July 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  13. ^ "Before I Go to Sleep (2014)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved 21 May 2020.
  14. ^ "Before I Go to Sleep Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 8 May 2018.
  15. ^ Whitty, Stephen (31 October 2014). "'Before I Go To Sleep' review: Nicole Kidman snoozes, loses". New Jersey Star-Ledger. Advance Local. Retrieved 10 November 2015.
  16. ^ Derakhshani, Tirdad (1 November 2014). "Suspend disbelief in this thriller". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 10 November 2015.
  17. ^ Lea, Andy (31 August 2014). "Review and trailer: Before I Go To Sleep (15) is a nail-biting tour de force". Daily Star. Express Newspapers. Retrieved 8 May 2018.
  18. ^ Edwards, David (5 September 2014). "Before I Go to Sleep review: The spirit of Hitchcock looms over Nicole Kidman's implausible thriller". Daily Mirror. Retrieved 8 May 2018.

External linksEdit