Director: Rowan Joffe
Christine (Kidman) wakes up every day not knowing where she is. After losing her memory after a blow to the head, she believes herself to be still in her mid-20s and her husband (Firth) has to convince her that she is both 40 years old and they have been married for years. Slowly she comes round each day, but no matter how much progress they make by nightfall, the cycle starts again every single day. Except in the few weeks previously, a doctor (Strong) has been encouraging her to keep a video diary of what she learns each day about who she is. Watching the tape back every morning, Christine slowly begins to realise who she is, what happened to her and begins to question her husband’s – and the doctor’s – motives for helping her.
It's been a while since Kidman played the victim, but some of her most memorable turns (The Others, Dead Calm) have come in the shape of her guttural portrayal of fear. Her pale colouring and willowy frame give this role the fragility it needs for a woman whose world is destroyed every day, while Kidman's signature feline intensity breaks through to show an irrepressible spirit, despite the impossible circumstances. Firth on the other hand plays with his persona, with the very notion that he might not be the ideal husband a challenge to the rom-com Firth of auld.
Hitchcock wrote a winning formula into his cannon, with tension at the centre of everything he did. It's so simple that filmmakers/studios/producers often seem to think it no longer a fresh or compelling genre, but Before I Go To Sleep is one of the most enjoyable popcorn films I've seen this year. It's by no means an awards film or a modern classic, but it's just a good old fashioned thrill-ride and well worth the 90 minutes of your time.