Film of the book: ‘Before I Go To Sleep’ (2014)

Based on S J Watson’s very popular thriller, this film has the same concept but many changes were made. Sadly this does highlight some plot holes or lack of details in the story that the film just doesn’t have time to explain. I can’t discuss most of the differences without spoiling it, however.

The story is about Christine Lucas, 40 years old (slightly younger than her book counterpart) who suffers from amnesia after a traumatic event. Every day she wakes up with no memory of who anyone is or what happened to her. A doctor phones her every day and has asked her to keep a journal so that she can explain things to herself – in the book she writes the journal, while in the film she records videos on a camera. As she pieces more of her life together, she suspects that something sinister is going on.

I think this is an adequate adaptation. It’s quite short, which keeps the momentum going, but it did seem rushed, while the book certainly wasn’t. None of the characters or settings resembled what was in my head, although I did think Nicole Kidman was excellent at portraying Christine’s struggles with amnesia. The book is distinctly British, but the film is generic-looking, lacking a sense of place and where everyone happens to have southern British accents. Maybe it helps sell the film to the US market. The ending was not as dramatic as that of the book and so I felt it was an anti-climax.

I recommend that you read the book first. If you like it, check out the film, but prepare for possible disappointment. The actors are very good but the rest of it is rather a let-down. This confirms my theory that decent psychological thriller books don’t tend to translate into equally good films.

Low-resolution film poster sourced from Wikipedia.

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