“Before I Go to Sleep” is a psychological thriller that explores the concept of short term memory loss. The critics cited it as a poorly executed copycat of Christopher Nolan’s “Memento.” As a huge fan of Nolan’s film, I was a bit suspicious after reading the unanimously unfavorable reviews but was pleased with the final result. The storyboarding of the film was completely different (linear with flashbacks vs. non-linear), the video journal was approached differently than “Memento’s” idea of tattooing important information on your body, and the overall tone was very different. While none of these differences hurt the film, some other did. This story is less believable as the main character’s brain conveniently resets itself each night and several characters don’t ask questions in moments where they should; still, it is a riveting story that keeps you guessing until the very end. Nicole Kidman gives her best performance since “Rabbit Hole” and, with better reviews from the critics, probably could have completely relaunched her career. The script affords her the opportunity to give intense portrayals of several different emotions within her ever-changing character. Colin Firth may be even more impressive in his surprisingly dark and mysterious role. With these performances, it is hard to believe that the critics didn’t have some mercy even if they found the story to be unoriginal. No movie will ever match the creativity of “Memento” but this film is still really good if you look at it through its own lens. “Before I Go to Sleep” brings a fresh approach to creative nature of films involving short term memory loss and its unexpected ending might even leave a tear in your eye.
[Pictured: The relationship between Kidman and Firth is incredibly uncomfortable and drives the entire story]