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Before I Go to Sleep
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
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.
- Parents say
- Kids say
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?
For kids who love thrills
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.