Sleeping Beauty


Sleeping Beauty (2011)


Critic Consensus: Sleeping Beauty's provocative premise and luminous art design is hampered by a clinical, remote presentation, delivering boredom and shock in equal measure.


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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 absolute submission to her clients by being sedated; becoming a Sleeping Beauty. Eventually this unnerving experience begins to bleed into her daily life and she finally develops the will to break the spell by discovering what happens to her while she sleeps. -- (C) Sundance Selects

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Critic Reviews for Sleeping Beauty

All Critics (96) | Top Critics (24)

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

Jan 12, 2012 | Rating: C | Full Review…

A fascinating, erotically charged mystery.

Dec 9, 2011 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…
Top Critic

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

Dec 9, 2011 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Eros snores.

Dec 9, 2011 | Rating: 1.5/4

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.

Dec 8, 2011 | Rating: 3/4

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.

Dec 4, 2011 | Rating: 1/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Sleeping Beauty

An empty and pretentious film that fails by not providing any depth into its character, thus leaving her actions and motivations as a complete mystery from beginning to end and making this a cold and detached experience even as a result of the large amount of loose shots.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer


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.

Matthew Samuel Mirliani
Matthew Samuel Mirliani

Super Reviewer

I fell asleep halfway through the first time I saw it.

Wildaly M
Wildaly M

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.

Manu Gino
Manu Gino

Super Reviewer

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