Sleeping Beauty Reviews

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Super Reviewer
June 20, 2014
An empty, pretentious film that fails for not providing depth into its character, leaving her actions and motivations as a complete mystery from beginning to end - which makes this experience so cold and detached even as a result of the large amount of loose shots.
Super Reviewer
½ December 1, 2013
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.
Super Reviewer
April 28, 2012
I fell asleep halfway through the first time I saw it.
Super Reviewer
November 9, 2011
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.
Super Reviewer
February 1, 2012
Sleeping Beauty is the kind of film destined for just about every hollow criticism that can conceivably be levied at an art house film - exploitative, pretentious, boring, meaningless...shit, "art house" is practically a criticism in its own right anymore. Such criticisms, naturally, discount the film's wealth of offerings, not the least of which is its consistently stunning visual presentation and the rich but near-silently explored dissections of femininity, consciousness and sacrifice. Pulsing with dark sonic and atmospheric energy and buoyed by an excellent performance by Emily Browning, Sleeping Beauty is a real treat for the open-minded, patient viewer.
Super Reviewer
½ November 21, 2011
Just when you think Australia can't do a decent film, along comes this one. Wow!
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.
Super Reviewer
September 23, 2011
Sleeping Beauty


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"
Super Reviewer
½ June 10, 2011
'Sleeping Beauty'. A brave directorial debut confronting male sexuality and an almost existential disconnect of its characters.

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.
Super Reviewer
February 26, 2012
Leigh's highly impressive debut tells the story of Browning, a young student who takes a job where rich elderly men pay to share a bed with her naked sleeping body. On the outset it may sound like a dark concept but Leigh has fashioned it into a refreshingly liberal take on the sex industry.
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.
Super Reviewer
December 18, 2011
In "Sleeping Beauty," Lucy(Emily Browning) is a university student who is sleepwalking through life. Even with about 37 part-time jobs, she cannot to pay the rent on her apartment, probably due to her hectic night life. So she calls about a help wanted ad in the student newspaper where she answers some very personal questions over the telephone. The interview is even more thorough as she is fully inspected, as Clara(Rachael Blake) tells her that it will be a freelancing job serving men dinner in her lingerie. And there will be no vaginal penetration. Good to know.

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.
Super Reviewer
½ February 20, 2012
Before watching this film you need to know that this is not a Disney movie nor does it have any similarities, no this is one slow burning drama about a sexually confused college girl who becomes a prostitute who when asleep via a sleeping pill her client has their way with her. This is not a happy film. This film is so bad mainly because it is very dull and very slow burning; it feels like a character driven piece but fails as the character it follows is bland and has no spark of interest about her. There are some shameless nudity scenes throughout and even the end doesn't amount to anything interesting or special. After watching this I was very surprised that I was interested in seeing it in the first place.
Super Reviewer
½ January 22, 2012
This is not Disney's version. A very complex and jaw dropping indie,foreign,art house, and drama film. Those are all the best genres so this should have been better. Although it lacks character development and dept it's still a pretty decent film. It's rather dull but that's one reason why it's so good. It's mysterious and able to conjure up many conversations. This does have many metaphors towards the original fairy tales. Like the waking up kiss and berries. There are so many theories online that it's hard to know which one is true. But all I have to say is that it's pure genius. I am aware that this is a debut so it doesn't have to be perfect. Who ever made this is going to be a big name one day. This was also a bit disturbing. One reason being that Emily Browning looks like a thirteenth year old. The things that made the film disturbing include the sex scenes, the fact that there is no music, and the dullness. Parts that where good include the plot and acting. Parts that needed work include the directing and writing. The writing could have been more complex so it would add more interest. The directing towards the camera men needed work. There was a lack of camera shots. There wasn't much variation as you may say. To end this review I just have to say that there is no prince charming at the end.
Super Reviewer
½ July 29, 2012
Fascinating, disturbing feature with a strong performance from Emily Browning and a fantastic visual creativity. There's a little *too* much ambiguity and the ending disappointed, but there is much that is interesting and striking.
Super Reviewer
½ October 6, 2011
Emily Browning is an actress I could watch in just about anything. Though Sleeping Beauty lies rather stagnant, with little range in emotion, Browning's beauty and performance is worth the film alone, watching her succumb to such low standards, remaining gorgeous throughout, but never accepting her beauty. She refuses to accept that her body is a "temple" and simply "whores" herself out to all her jobs. Julia Leigh takes many calculated risks in her directorial debut and for the most part succeeds, coming off with the same eerie tone as Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut. As one critic describes the film, "it's ultimately a horror story, though one completely free of blood and gore", which is true, as you sit in mostly silence, in awe of the what horror Browning's character will submit herself to next.
Super Reviewer
April 17, 2012
This film film was just plain dull. The performances, narrative and dialogue all flat which made all the sex scenes feel like an exploitation film without the kick but instead with a thick, glossy wood varnish still drying
Super Reviewer
½ June 24, 2013
The film milks its fascinating premise to the bone but the lack of plot, interesting characters and the ambigious ending (arthouse anyone?) make this quite a tedious and challenging watch. A good performance by Browning throughout. Far from being a masterpiece, this is a bold entry in the arthouse scene but far from a classic.
Super Reviewer
½ February 20, 2013
Colossally boring, I eventually chose to not waste my time trying to get through to the end for absolutely nothing in return. Adhering to the title, every actor appears to have taken a handful of Ambien before the cameras rolled. Filled with agonizingly long takes and interminable monologues, which are actually preferable to the perverted scenes of old wrinkly men caressing and licking the bare-assed Emily Browning. She's probably got some disturbing father figure/grandaddy issues by agreeing to take this part. Surely one of the worst mistakes I will see this year.
Critique Threatt
Super Reviewer
November 1, 2011
This film is not for the faint of heart. Julia Leigh's "Sleeping Beauty" is about a young, quiet, promiscuous girl named Lucy (Emily Browning) working as an exotic waitress, later on a sleeping beauty. In the daytime Lucy is going to school and working menial jobs, while trying to keep up with the rent money. Lucy is quiet, lonely, sexual, and carefree.

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.
Super Reviewer
November 4, 2011
Is a little like After Life that starred Christina Ricci, since it makes seeing a beautiful woman naked through-out, some how boring.
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