Retrograde amnesia—think soap-opera-style total memory loss caused by a bad head injury, typically portrayed as “reversible” by way of yet another bop to the head—is often sarcastically referred to as “Hollywood amnesia.” But another kind of amnesia, anterograde amnesia (an inability to form any new memories), has eclipsed retrograde as the de rigueur brain trauma for the Hollywood set over the past few years. Between Memento and 50 First Dates, the anterograde amnesia subgenre of films has effectively run the gamut from hardcore mystery to lighthearted romantic comedy—and now Rowan Joffe’s Before I Go to Sleep looks to fill the gap left between the two.
Based on S.J. Watson’s bestselling 2011 of the same name, Nicole Kidman stars in the film as Christine Lucas, a woman who wakes up every morning not knowing who she is, where she is, what happened to her, and who the hell the man next to her in bed is. (It’s okay, Christine, that’s your husband.) Welcomed to the day by a set of pictures and a journal, Christine fills her time trying to reassemble her life and memories, before losing them all as soon as she goes to sleep. Turns out, she just might have some pretty scary stuff to remember.
The trail of the tape
Title: Before I Go To Sleep
Director: Rowan Joffe
Screenwriter: Rowan Joffe
Cast: Nicole Kidman, Colin Firth, Mark Strong
Release date: October 31, 2014
Tagline: “Who do you trust?”
The entire trailer in one line of dialogue: “That’s where I found you, naked, confused.”
The entire trailer in one screengrab:
So who is the bad guy here? Is it Christine’s husband Ben (Colin Firth), who is either exhausted by his wife’s illness or the actual cause of it? (Eh, probably a combo of both.) Or perhaps it’s her secret doctor (Mark Strong), who seems to have a bad sense of appropriate boundaries between doctors and patients? Or what about her creepy friend Claire (Anne-Marie Duff)? Or even that shadowy baby that appears in scattered scenes? Maybe the real culprit is Christine’s very own brain? Just a tip, Christine: Clue-bearing tattoos are a smart investment.