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Nicole Kidman 'Horrified' By Research Into Psychogenic Amnesia For 'Before I Go To Sleep'

Tags: Nicole Kidman - Colin Firth - Rowan Joffe

'Before I Go To Sleep' explores the darkness of losing one's memory to an accident, a fear that resides deeply in everyone and which Nicole Kidman displayed with remarkable commitment on the chilling movie adaptation with Colin Firth.

Nicole Kidman and Colin Firth in 'Before I Go To Sleep'
Nicole Kidman impressed Colin Firth with amnesiac performance

In a bid to fully immerse herself in the character of Christine, a 40-year-old woman who wakes up one day believing she is still in her twenties and with no recollection of who her husband is only to find out repeatedly that he has been introducing himself to her every day for several weeks, Nicole Kidman took the time to do some full research into her condition. 'I watched a number of documentaries where people do have this psychogenic amnesia', she explains. 'The idea of actually having this is horrifying.  Someone described it as like losing their soul, because you lose your identity, you lose actually what you are and that's really chilling, and it's also sad.'

Continue reading: Nicole Kidman 'Horrified' By Research Into Psychogenic Amnesia For 'Before I Go To Sleep'

Before I Go to Sleep Review


A clever premise can't help but grab the audience's attention as this mystery-thriller plays with ideas of identity and memory, but the simplistic filmmaking makes it feel like a cheat. Writer-director Rowan Joffe (2010's Brighton Rock remake) badly underestimates the audience, using melodrama and contrived storytelling to try to manipulate viewers' emotions. And it doesn't help that the leading lady can't move her face.

Nicole Kidman stars as Christine, who wakes up every morning thinking that she's 23. When she discovers Ben (Colin Firth) in her bed, she's almost as horrified as when she sees her 40-year-old face in the mirror. But Ben patiently explains who she is, that he's her husband and that an accident damaged her ability to make new long-term memories. When he leaves for work each day, she is contacted by Dr Nash (Mark Strong), who helps nudge her into the present. But all of this does little more than make Christine wonder whether anyone is telling the truth. As she digs deeper each day, she gets in touch with her friend Claire (Anne-Marie Duff), who offers some continuity. And by piecing clues together she begins to realise that there's a gap between what's really happening and what she thinks she remembers.

With elements of both Memento and 50 First Dates, this film is packed with tricky elements that add to the suspense, creating a creepy atmosphere that's surprisingly moving as seen through Christine's eyes. Even with her immobile face, Kidman's eyes are alert and emotive, strongly conveying Christine's yearning to understand the truth. Opposite her, the always terrific Duff has the film's best role simply because she seems to be who she claims to be. Meanwhile, Firth and Strong have a great time wrong-footing both Christine and the audience, or maybe they're just misunderstood. The fascinating premise forces us to sift through the clues ourselves to figure out what's going on.

Continue reading: Before I Go to Sleep Review

Before I Go to Sleep


Brighton Rock


Rowan Joffe:
News Pictures Video Film

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