Sleeping Beauty Reviews
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.
I liked everything about this, beautifully filmed but tragic story. I especially liked how the loungeroom looked so elegant in the evening and then so shabby by day time.
The cast are great. Very understated performances considering the disturbing subject matter. Motives aren't discussed and you don't get a huge sense of what motivates Lucy, but I think, like the real sleeping beauty, she is hoping to be rescued, hence her asking several of the men if they will marry her.
I don't think everyone will love this and it's sure not a fairy story, but well worth a look.
A Horrible movie. This movie is pure nonsense that claims to be "artistic". This is one of the most pointless movies I have seen this year, everything is bad about it except the beauty photography. I will make sure to never again watch something made my Julia Leigh or trust a movie by its trailer.
The story is about Lucy (Browning) a student that struggles economically and therefore decides to sell her beauty and become a sleeping prostitute.
I was cheated by my senses and thought that this movie would have something to do with the original Sleeping Beauty story, but this has nothing to do with it, in fact this movie doesn't follow a plot, its pure non-sense. I highly do not recommend this movie to anyone. Stay away! The only thing worth seeing is the beautiful photography and unique gothic erotic style.
Clara: "We will discuss particulars"
Emily Browning's subdued, but extremely, physical [for lack of a better word] and open performance was daring, and so many times throughout the film, I couldn't imagine how she must have been feeling when certain sequences were being shot.
I found it extremely difficult to get any meaning out of it at first glance, and the Q&A with Jane Campion and Julia Leigh done by Margaret Pomeranz gleaned a little more insight, sadly not through the director herself though.
Leigh was quite cagey in her responses, and I'm fine with a story not having a meaning, but I at least want to understand the director's vision.
It was left to Campion to explain the existential qualities of the characters and the theme of wilting male dominance with age and their need for a Sleeping Beauty.
If there's a villain in this story it's Browning herself. It's implied that she had a manipulative past and treated people like objects, leading to an ambiguous incident which lead to a male friend becoming an alcoholic. She pays him daily visits and sleeps in his arms yet always has to face away from him, shedding tears of guilt. It's this guilt that leads her into a line of work where she herself is objectified and manipulated. She's not in it for the money as in one scene she sets a hundred dollar bill on fire, just to watch it burn. To force herself to continue in her newfound job she rents a ridiculously expensive apartment which she doesn't even furnish with curtains. Hers is a penance she must abide with.
I could be wrong but I believe Australia has some very liberal laws regarding prostitution and there's certainly none of the demonising of the trade you would get in an American film for example. Her clients aren't allowed indulge in penetration and her presence is more therapeutic than mere sexual gratification. One of the elderly men tragically lost his wife at a very young age. Unable to allow himself sexual relations with a woman since, he pays for Browning's services simply to evoke the memory of sleeping next to his wife's young body.
Australian film-makers seem to have a deeply engrained sense of what makes cinema work. Their film industry only really began in the seventies but they took to it with relish. Maybe it's the lack of the burden of a literary or theatrical history, something which has blighted the film industry of Britain and most certainly my native country Ireland. A badly made Aussie film is a rare thing indeed, and this is incredibly well crafted. The shot composition is some of the most beautiful you'll see outside of a Kubrick film and Leigh has a great sense of colour, contrasting the warmth of the interiors of the brothel with the cold harshness of Browning's other so-called normal jobs. The fact that Leigh is a novelist making her first foray into film makes this debut all the more impressive. We have ourselves an exciting new talent and I look forward to her future work.
With the fine skill it is made, "Sleeping Beauty" is better than mere exploitation, but as provocation it is fairly empty, considering that after the abrupt ending, I am still not sure what the point was.(Please tell me it had nothing to do with the story the old man was telling because I was zoning out right about then.) And while Emily Browning gives a physically courageous performance, it was alas not an emotionally brave one, making it very hard to get a handle on her character. Some of that might be down to the writing as all we know about Lucy is that she is on her own and estranged from her mother(whether she is actually a violent alcoholic is up for debate) with scattered hints about her past.(She also pretty much wears the same clothing all the time.) While seeking to live her own life, she also happens to find herself in more than her share of degrading work situations, with money not of interest at first in her new job.
There isn't really much to her character except that she lives for the thrill. A scene where she tries a round of coke with another female campanion in the washroom, she befriends a guy named Biirdman, sleeps with a co-worker, gets a job as a sleeping beauty(older men take advantage of her while she sleeps).
The picture is quiet and tries to be serious but to what purpose? It seems to me Leigh is more interested in the plot rather then focusing on the characters but that's what good erotic dramas is known for. The perversion may put some viewers off but if you really look at it there is no real explicit scenes of sex. Titalize yes but full penetration? No. Browning's character can also be a put off because she's got nothing really going for her except maybe to exploit herself in any possible way. Lucy isn't a bad person but a lonely one, in search of some real reasonable contact.
In a way, "Sleeping Beauty" reminds me of another picture by Luis Bunuel "Belle De Jour". It's about a housewife working at a brothel while satisfying her clients, gets turned on by the thrill of the chase. Lucy is the same way as Belle De Jour except, most of the time she's sound asleep unawhere of what her clients is doing to her but she does get a stunning rude awakening. For a mixed review, "Sleeping Beauty" isn't a rotten film, works better viewing it a second or third try.