Before I Go to Sleep

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
Before I Go to Sleep Movie Poster Image
Violent amnesia thriller is entertaining but unmemorable.
  • R
  • 2014
  • 92 minutes

Parents say

age 16+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 15+
Based on 2 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

No real messages except that it helps to keep good notes and to be careful who you trust.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The female hero is strong willed but is mostly a victim and never really gets the chance to fight for herself. The rest of the characters can't really be trusted until we know who's who in the final reveal.


Scenes of brutal violence against a woman. A man bashes her with various blunt objects in a hotel room, and there are flashbacks to earlier bloody beatings. She fights back, hitting and stabbing the man, and emerges bloody and injured. A drop of blood falls on the camera lens while she records. Other scenes of a man slapping her, plus suggestions of emotional manipulation.


A couple has sex in the bathroom, starting with passionate kissing. No nudity in that scene, but in another, the female lead's naked bottom is shown; she's also seen in a short, sexy robe. Nude centerfold pinups are very briefly seen hanging on an office wall. Discussion about how the female lead may have been cheating on her husband with another man, but she doesn't remember it.


Language isn't constant but includes "f--k," "s--t," "bastard," and "prick."


A Panasonic Lumix camera is an integral part of the plot.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Two glasses of red wine are on a table at dinner, but the characters aren't seen drinking. The female lead smokes a cigarette after sex.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Before I Go to Sleep is a thriller about a woman with amnesia. It contains a few scenes of very intense violence with a man brutally beating a woman. He slaps and hits her, and uses blunt objects. Lots of blood is shown. Language is infrequent but can be very strong, with uses of "f--k" and "s--t." There's one brief but strong sex scene, with kissing, but no nudity. Other sex scenes, and an extramarital affair, are suggested. The female lead's naked bottom is shown, and some pinup centerfolds are briefly seen. The female lead smokes a cigarette in one shot. A Panasonic Lumix camera is an integral part of the plot. With its grown-up cast and grown-up situations, it seems unlikely that teens will be interested.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byyuri13 November 4, 2014


Great actors,but really bad movie.It's not suprising,scary or
exciting it's just 92 minutes of nothing.
Adult Written byB-KMastah November 5, 2014

Just enough. Just barely.

No one is going to see this movie. I wouldn't necessarily say that that's indicative of the movie's quality, but it tells you the type of movie t... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byCandyfloss 10 October 22, 2017

Before I go to sleep

Really good film. Don’t watch with your children you’ll feel seriously uncomfortable because of the naughty parts.
Kid, 11 years old April 2, 2015

Alright Movie.. The Book Was Better

This movie is not good, nor is it bad, but certainly nothing like the book, which absolutely fascinated me. This movie is for mature viewers only, and in gener... Continue reading

What's the story?

Christine (Nicole Kidman) is a 40-year-old amnesiac who can store up information over the course of a day, but every morning when she wakes up, all memories back to her twenties are erased. So every day, she wakes up next to a strange man (Colin Firth), who explains that he's her husband and tells her what's going on. Another man, Dr. Nasch (Mark Strong), calls every day and asks Christine to locate a video diary she keeps and to watch the recordings. He then meets her for a series of appointments and tests. As Christine has flashes of memory and records them in her diary, she begins to discover that something isn't quite right in her strange little world.

Is it any good?

BEFORE I GO TO SLEEP feels like an slightly better-than-average made-for-cable movie from the 1990s. It's not particularly outstanding, but a pleasant surprise for viewers who might accidentally stumble upon it one night. Kidman is the main reason it works at all; she exudes old-fashioned star power, here coupled with an appealing vulnerability. Our hearts go out to her.

Working from a novel by S.J. Watson, writer and director Rowan Joffe -- the son of Oscar-nominated director Roland Joffe (The Killing Fields, The Mission) -- dutifully deals out clues and red herrings, though he doesn't really make the best use of the amnesia angle (Christine could easily forget a crucial clue if she doesn't record it). Some of the surprises are more technical than emotional, but overall, the movie keeps up a good pace, hitting all the right beats. Yet it's still likely that you'll forget it all by morning.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Before I Go to Sleep's brutal violence. How did it make you feel? How does it compare to what you might see in a more typical horror movie? Which has more impact, and why?

  • How is sex portrayed in this movie? Does it feel loving and supportive or something else? Parents, talk to your teens about your own values regarding sex and relationships.

  • Why does the bad guy do what he does? Is he being supportive or cruel? Or both?

  • Why is amnesia such a popular subject for movies? What do you think it would it be like not to remember something or someone?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love thrills

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