Thursday, April 2, 2015

Before I Go to Sleep Book/Movie Review

Rating: 4.5

Originally published on  6/21/13--movie review below

Hi everyone!

I loved this book!  Fantastic psychological thriller and mystery. I liked the intimacy of the book.  There were truly only three main characters, and one of those was not who I was expecting.  I felt the pacing was well done and kept me interested in Christine trying to discover who she is and what exactly happened to her to cause her two decade amnesia.

  I didn't know much about amnesia, so I did some research.  Christine suffers from two types of amnesia: retrograde amnesia (cased by an accident many years before) and anterograde amnesia (short term memory loss casing her to wake up every day not remembering anything from the day before). Both can happen aut the same time.  I thought the author's choice to have her write in a journal to remember events was well done.  Sometimes it didn't make sense that sometimes Christine DID remember some short term moments, but I let it go because it's a fictional story and I was being entertained. While reading this book, I immediately thought of the films "Memento" and "50 First Dates".

I had no idea where BIGTS was going.  I thought the doctor was in on it.  Then I thought maybe her bestfriend was involved.  I also thought no one was involved with her accident and maybe it was just so horrific, the truth would just blow us away...Well it did blow me away.  What a twist!!!

The only criticism I have is how rushed and perfect the ending is considering all the build up.  Her resolve with her husband Ben just seemed to...lovely.  I wish there would have been more to that storyline before THE END.  

BIGTS has had the rights bought and the film is set to star Nicole Kidman, Mark Strong, and Colin Firth.  Not sure which parts Strong and Firth are playing. Seems like a great cast.  I will definitely be seeing it to make comparisons!

(I'm assuming they will age her appropriately)

Ben/Mike????  He would be great in that role!

Dr. Nash????

Really can't wait to see the film!  I read the book in two days!

I watched the film the other day (at Redox).  I haven't watched much live TV lately (thank you Netflix series binge watching!), so maybe I missed all the trailers????  I usually know when films are hitting the theater, but this completely missed my radar.  I was surprised to see it at Redox.  Either way, I'm glad I finally got the chance to see it.

I thought the film was underwhelming.  The cast was great, but the film just didn't have the same thrill as the book.  At least not until the end.  Honestly, I think reading the book from Christine's POV makes it more intense.  The film did not go that route and maybe that's why it suffered.

 Colin Firth turned out to be Ben/Mike.  I thought he did a fantastic job, as usual.  Had I not already known the twist ending, I really would have believed he was her husband.  Mark Strong gave a solid performance of Dr. Nash.  From the trailer, I got a creepy vibe with his character.  Due to editing, that was truly not the case and you could tell he was really trying to help Christine.  Visually, I felt Nicole really took on Christine.  A bit disheveled, one can only imagine what it would be like to wake up everyday trying to figure out who you are.  I'm pretty sure fashion isn't high on the priority list.

I noticed a few minor changes such as the video diary and the age of Dr. Nash.  If you remember from the novel, Christine writes her daily happenings in a journal.  I liked how they changed to a video diary as it read better to an audience-- knowing what was happening and what she was thinking.  In today's age of smartphones, it seems recordings would be more common than journal entries.  However, at the time of the novel, journals would have been the medium used.  Dr. Nash is also much younger in the book.  A very minor detail that doesn't take away from the character at all.

Christine's moment with Adam at the end of the film was my favorite.  To see a young boy who has missed his mother so much see that there is part of her that remembers him was very touching.  I can't imagine not remembering my children!

All in all, it was an ok film.  Not great, not good, but ok.  Maybe that's why I never noticed it at theaters: it didn't last long.  Or at all.  Rotten Tomatoes gave it a 36% with a 41% audience "liked it". Honestly, I would recommend the book over the film.  If you get it from Redox, you aren't wasting your money.


  1. 1. How would you handle waking up everyday thinking you are still in your twenties only to discover you are 47 and decades have gone by and you don't remember any of it?

    2. What are Dr Nash’s feelings towards Christine? Do you think he is behaving in a professional manner? He says he is writing up her case – are his motives for helping her entirely selfless? Is he being completely honest with her?

    3. Christine becomes attracted to Dr. Nash. Do you think that is normal under her circumstances? Why do you think there is that attraction?

    (I will answer my questions as well)

  2. From OB (technical difficulties posting):

    In response to question number one:TBH I would be disappointed simply because I would feel out of control. The truth is, we will never get back yesterday but we can change our future today. That’s what I like about Christine she’s a survivor, she never gave up on herself even when she had an easy excuse to throw in the towel and give into her condition. A lot of people who don’t have her condition live in a state of denial, unwillingness to grow and accept what’s right in front of them. Please for give me but I can't help mentioning a great quote a business partner gave me. It goes:

    “Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.”

    ― Maria Robinson

    1. I think I would be terrified, confused, and like you, out of control. Seeing myself 20 years ahead and seeing aged hands, hair, eyes, without any memory of it happening would be shocking. I think I would be angry too. Hopefully I would have loving family still with me helping me make such a sucky circumstance somewhat bearable. It makes me realize that Christine must have had a lot of drive in her prior to her accident. I don't think our personalities completely change, just because we can't remember. I will come back to this...

    2. " I don't think our personalities completely change, just because we can't remember. I will come back to this..."

      Yes! Do come back to that thought. I like where u were headed with that.

    3. Thanks for posting this for me. My computer has been giving me problems lately.

    4. ok, so coming back to my earlier comment, I think it's possible to maybe still be the same person because of our experiences prior to a brain injury. I know you can end up liking something you didn't before and vice versa, but I think the core of who you are is still there. I think if you were an inquisitive person before amnesia, you would still tend to be inquisitive. I don't think your personality traits necessarily change, but then again I haven't done the research to back that up.

  3. "2. What are Dr Nash’s feelings towards Christine? Do you think he is behaving in a professional manner? He says he is writing up her case – are his motives for helping her entirely selfless? Is he being completely honest with her?"

    I think he is being honest. Although, I seriously had my doubts about him when he went to Christine's house. I thought "ok this is where he turns into a monster" but then Christine puts the moves on him and I thought Wow! Slow down sister!! Where did that come from? Then I felt sorry for her when he rejects her. Do u think Dr. Nash led Christine on?

    1. I too think he is being honest with her. I think he is behaving as professionally as possible considering he is doing this without her husband or anyone else knowing. I think he is genuinely interested in her case.

  4. " 3. Christine becomes attracted to Dr. Nash. Do you think that is normal under her circumstances? Why do you think there is that attraction?"

    I think Christine could sense something was off with her husband and that's why she was attracted to Dr. Nash. Nash was optimistic, gave her hope and wanted to see her get better.

    1. When there is only one person in your life who seems to have your best interest at heart and spends time with you every day, I'm pretty sure I would be attracted to that person as well, or at the very least have strong emotional ties. I think that was inevitable for Christine as she felt she could trust him, most of the time. He was kind, gave her hope, was encouraging, and always there for her. I thought something might come of it, but I think how the book turned out was far better.

    2. Yes ITA. He did have her best interest at heart. Do u think its possible for men and women to be friends only?

  5. What do you think about journal writing? Do you do it everyday? Once a week? Monthly? Why is keeping a journal considered so important?

    How important is trust? How does it affect our sanity?

  6. Hi LB!

    “Why is keeping a journal considered so important?”

    First things first! Do I Journal? YES, YES, YES! I do it at least three to two times a month. I use to do it everyday but I find two or three times a month works best for me. How about u?

    Here’s an interesting health fact. It’s been known to reduce symptoms of Asthma. Anyway, I started as a child as a way to perfect my little ideas. LOL! Did u know?

    “Journaling (or keeping letters or diaries) is an ancient tradition, one that dates back to at least 10th century Japan. Successful people throughout history have kept journals. Presidents have maintained them for posterity; other famous figures for their own purposes. Oscar Wilde, 19th century playwright, said: “I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read on the train.”

    Here’s more info regarding the health benefits of Journaling.

  7. “How important is trust?”

    Very, important. Trust in relationships is a two way street. Both parties must behave ethically and deal truthfully. In every case, trust is built, earned and maintained IMO.

    “How does it affect our sanity?”

    I believe what you come to believe about another person is what directs your behavior and actions towards that person. So, trust is critical to the dynamics of any relationship, whether it be business, politics, a working environment, marriage, family or friendships.

    Also, IMO the only way to deal with untrustworthy or toxic relationships is to create strong boundaries or cut them out completely. There really is no in between. Toxic relationships may try guilt tripping you or becoming nasty with you. They will likely tell others you are crazy and make crazy accusations. This is all very common and just reveals the toxic persons character further. So yeah, toxic untrustworthy relationships can affect your sanity IMO.