Before I Go to Sleep
Taglines: Don’t trust anyone.
Due to a catastrophic accident in her mid-twenties, Christine, now a forty-seven-year-old writer, is incapable of forming and maintaining new memories for more than a day. Trapped in an existence in which she wakes every day believing herself to be single and with a whole lifetime of choice ahead of her she discovers instead that she lives with her husband, Ben, with most decisions already made.
Through her meetings with a doctor who is helping her to recover her memory, Christine’s story begins to emerge, setting in motion a series of events that trigger startling consequences for her and all who love her, leading her to question whether the truth is sometimes better left forgotten.
Before I Go to Sleep is a British mystery thriller film directed and written by Rowan Joffé, based on a 2011 novel, Before I Go to Sleep by S. J. Watson. The film stars Nicole Kidman, Mark Strong, Colin Firth and Anne-Marie Duff.
About the Story
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 ago. Christine wakes up every morning with no memory of her life from her early twenties onwards. Every morning, after she wakes up, Ben has to explain to her what has happened.
Christine receives treatment from Dr. Nasch, a neurologist at a local hospital. He gives her a camera for her to record her thoughts and progress at the end of each day, and calls her at home every morning to remind her to watch the video in the the camera. Dr. Nasch also instructs Christine to keep the camera hidden from Ben. Dr. Nasch reveals that Christine’s memory loss did not occur due to a car accident, but that Christine had been 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 her friend, a red-haired woman named Claire. She asks Ben about Claire, and Ben tells her that Claire could not handle Christine’s condition, and ended contact from her. Later, Christine recalls that she had a son. She angrily confronts Ben over hiding their child, but Ben says their son had died of meningitis when he was eight years old. He avoided mentioning their dead son as it always upset her. Christine faintly remembers the name Mike, and believes it may be the name of her attacker.
Christine learns that, several years after her attack, Ben had placed her in an assisted care facility and divorced her. Ben states that it was due to the stress of dealing with her condition, coupled with their son’s death, but that he had 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 had taken her away. Christine obtains Claire’s phone number and meets her. Claire reveals that Christine had embarked on an affair prior to her attack, while Ben and Claire had had a one-time sexual encounter, due to their shared grief at Christine’s memory loss. Feeling an obligation to keep Ben and Christine’s marriage intact, Claire chose to end contact.
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 in the face, and storms out. On the telephone, Claire tells Christine that Ben claims to not have seen Christine for several years. Claire asks Christine to describe the “Ben” she is living with, and they realize he is not Ben at all. Christine attempts to escape the house, but “Ben” renders her unconscious.
Before I Go to Sleep
Directed by: Rowan Joffe
Starring: Nicole Kidman, Mark Strong, Colin Firth, Anne-Marie Duff, Rosie MacPherson, Adam Levy, Jing Lusi
Screenplay by: Rowan Joffe
Production Design by: Kave Quinn
Cinematography by: Ben Davis
Film Editing by: Melanie Oliver
Costume Design by: Michele Clapton
Set Decoration by: Niamh Coulter
Music by: Ed Shearmur
MPAA Rating: R for some brutal violence and language.
Studio: BBC Films
Release Date: October 31, 2014