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Sleeping Beauty (2011)



Average Rating: 5.5/10
Critic Reviews: 21
Fresh: 10 | Rotten: 11

No consensus yet.



liked it
Average Rating: 2.7/5
User Ratings: 65,350

My Rating

Movie Info

Lucy (Emily Browning) is a young university student possessed by a kind of radical passivity. She lets a flip of a coin decide the outcome of a random sexual encounter and she displays an uncomplaining patience when facing the repetitions of her various menial jobs that fund her studies. One day she answers an ad in the student newspaper and interviews for a job to be a lingerie waitress. But she is secretly being initiated into a world of strange new work; one where she will have to give into


Art House & International, Drama

Julia Leigh

Apr 10, 2012


IFC Films - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (90) | Top Critics (21) | Fresh (44) | Rotten (46)

[An] arty exploitation pic passed off as a feminist parable...

January 12, 2012 Full Review Source: Entertainment Weekly
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A fascinating, erotically charged mystery.

December 9, 2011 Full Review Source: Newsday
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Leigh, impressively for a first-time filmmaker, has a distinct and confident approach.

December 9, 2011 Full Review Source: Globe and Mail
Globe and Mail
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Eros snores.

December 9, 2011 Full Review Source: Toronto Star
Toronto Star
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's a story told in quiet rooms and hushed voices - except for one devastating scream near the end - and it's ultimately a horror story, though one completely free of blood and gore.

December 8, 2011 Full Review Source: Seattle Times
Seattle Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Though Julia Leigh's surprisingly dull debut is meant to present the mysteries of a troubled young woman, you're more likely to wonder why its star, Emily Browning, is drawn to such demeaning roles.

December 4, 2011 Full Review Source: New York Daily News
New York Daily News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

[The] movie trades in ambiguity and uncomfortable awkwardness, the often hypnotising trance it emits is a fascinating sight to witness.

October 17, 2013 Full Review Source: Onya Magazine

Even if the film's final chapter seems far too on point, if not glib, the filmmaker continues to mine complicated psychological terrain with a clear-eyed stringency.

July 1, 2013 Full Review Source: Film Comment Magazine
Film Comment Magazine

It's so sterile and clinical and emotionless that making a film about the emotionlessness of sex has become more of a cliche than just good ole Cinemax softcore porn.

June 23, 2013 Full Review Source: Deadspin

She spends much of the movie baring her fascinatingly underdeveloped body; her vagina is her temple. There's no graphic sex, but its intimations are anything but sexy.

June 20, 2013 Full Review Source: Film Comment Magazine
Film Comment Magazine

Wallows in the mud as a sicko exploitation pic.

May 30, 2013 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Juggling moments of pitch black humour and disturbingly tense scenes of abuse, Sleeping Beauty has a queasy, mismatched tone that underscores an uneven, elliptical movie.

September 28, 2012 Full Review Source:

Comically pretentious and unreasonably slow...

July 21, 2012 Full Review Source: Reel Film Reviews
Reel Film Reviews

Sleeping Beauty is an atmospheric gem which intrigues and delivers in almost every scene

June 21, 2012 Full Review Source: Dial M For Movies
Dial M For Movies

The film's stifled sexual politics seem both non-feminist and critical of a 21st-century pornographic world, where all of us are stuck in our cubicles of detached, narcissistic desire.

February 9, 2012 Full Review Source: Vue Weekly (Edmonton, Canada)
Vue Weekly (Edmonton, Canada)

I could see it inspiring interesting discussions afterward, but there is the matter of having to sit through it first.

January 12, 2012 Full Review Source: St. Paul Pioneer Press | Comment (1)
St. Paul Pioneer Press

This is a strange film that gets into issues of the meaning of sex, of male fantasy, even of feminism.

January 1, 2012 Full Review Source: Mark Leeper's Reviews
Mark Leeper's Reviews

Though it seems appropriate to make "Sleeping Beauty" as empty, enervating and dull as its main character, it only serves to underscore the lack of entertainment or insight.

December 22, 2011 Full Review Source: Oregonian

The film deals with the topic of sexual taboos in a transgressive manner that bends your brain. The whole enterprise may even be fraudulent.

December 9, 2011 Full Review Source: Jam! Movies
Jam! Movies

Leigh strikes an observational, artful tone that builds to an emotional climax as fittingly yet frustratingly enigmatic as anything that's come before.

December 7, 2011 Full Review Source: Paste Magazine
Paste Magazine

Brrrr. This study of a young girl's descent into a most rarefied form of whoring is as coldly clinical as it is annoyingly pretentious.

December 5, 2011 Full Review Source: Film Journal International
Film Journal International

Audience Reviews for Sleeping Beauty

This film accomplishes nothing other than unnecessarily disturbing the viewer. If there were any larger messages the film carries, they are lost in its slow--albeit beautifully filmed--sequences that feature cold, wooden acting. The film lost me halfway despite a somewhat compelling plot, and then, not only did it bore, but became a rather disgusting, vile, and ultimately irritating movie. It deserves praise for its cinematography and film editing, which both evoke Sofia Coppola, however it is largely a pointless, raunchy bore. Style can only get you so far.
December 1, 2013
Matthew Samuel Mirliani

Super Reviewer

I fell asleep halfway through the first time I saw it.
May 30, 2012

Super Reviewer

A haunting portrait of Lucy, a young university student drawn into a mysterious hidden world of unspoken desires.

Total waste of time. It will more likely turn you into a sleeping beauty instead..The debut feature film by novelist Julia Leigh is anything but artistic, which is a goal that she obviously set out to achieve. It was the lack of emotion throughout the film which ultimately made it all style without any substance. As much as I wanted to like the film, it was guilty of pretentious overload. Some people might still get something out of the movie its images or will read deeper into some of the movie its moments but personally I got very little out of this movie. It was a very empty movie story-wise and an emotionally bland one, that by the end left nothing more than a very redundant impression on me.

Lucy is a university student who is working a number of jobs. She volunteers at a research lab, works at a coffee shop, and as a photocopy cerk in an office. She responds to an advertisement and embarks on an erotic freelance job in which she is required to sleep in bed alongside paying customers.
April 29, 2012
Manu Gino

Super Reviewer

For me Sleeping Beauty is a story of passiveness, power and sleep. A politic or social statement perhaps, our protagonist is a sleepwalker, she is never truly awake. She works hard at several jobs, goes to Uni and cares for her sick friend and is submissive to everyone. She lets the wealthy and powerful dominate her, exploit her and do as they will with her, quite literally, for money. She is the eternal sleepwalker, a lost soul in the sea of society. Aren't we all working hard, selling our souls little by little, working for the man? The real tragedy is that she so longs to be rescued (the only real link to the fairytale) but no one does, she is alone. It's a great debut from directer Julia Leigh (not Mike's daughter) and another in a successful succession of Aussie films of late - an industry that has been overlooked and unappreciated for too long! Its only fault is that for all its visual beauty and excellent script, you just can't help but look away during certain scenes and when a film makes you want to look away it's not doing something right, right? There are always exceptions. It had to be provocative to tell the story the way it was intended and it certainly wasn't sexy - which was also a very important thing to get right, it is cringe-worthy at times but importantly so. Destined to be misunderstood, there are people on flixster who have rated this film poorly but have given 5 stars to Gaspar Noé's Irreversible - maybe it needs a re-watch but then it is quite hard to sit through at times to be fair. It really needs to be seen because it is a great film, it's not just a soft-porn film, anyone who thinks so is completely missing the point (and is a bit perverse).
February 16, 2012

Super Reviewer

    1. Lucy: I love drinking, I'm really good at it.
    – Submitted by Kevin R (13 months ago)
    1. Lucy: Fear of death is the biggest hoax.
    – Submitted by Aiden F (2 years ago)
    1. Clara: Such a sleep works wonders.
    – Submitted by Chris P (2 years ago)
    1. Clara: Your vagina will not be penetrated. Your vagina will be a temple.
    2. Lucy: My vagina is not a temple.
    – Submitted by xniquet L (2 years ago)
View all quotes (4)

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Foreign Titles

  • Sleeping Beauty (Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky) (DE)
  • Sleeping Beauty (Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky) (UK)
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