Before I Go to Sleep

Afflicted with a form of amnesia that exists only in the movies, a middle-aged woman (Nicole Kidman) loses her memory each night and wakes up thinking she’s still in her mid-20s. Who can she trust to help her reclaim her identity—her dutiful yet emotionally withholding husband (an acceptably wooden Colin Firth) or her suave yet suspicious neuropsychiatrist (Mark Strong)? This psychological horror movie recalls Joseph H. Lewis’s classic B picture My Name Is Julia Ross (1945) in its melodramatic plot twists and the unexpected elegance that writer-director Rowan Joffe (Brighton Rock) brings to the material. Maintaining a hushed tone and working mainly in close-up, Joffe advances an empathetic (and subtly feminist) view of the heroine, whose suffering is heightened rather than ameliorated by her dependence on men.