Sunday, 22 July 2012

Film Review // Sleeping Beauty (2011)

Films movie posters.

This version of Sleeping Beauty is definitely not the disney version you will remember from your childhood, it's a dark erotic drama film written and directed by Julia Leigh.This austrailian movie was actually Leighs debut as a director and I must say she didn't do a shabby job of it.
 It is actually based partially on an idea taken from the novel The House of the Sleeping Beauties by 
Yasunari Kawabata where men would pay to sleep beside young women who had been given a drug and were known as 'Sleeping beauties'. The men were expected to sleep beside these woman and sleep only. 
This interpretation of Sleeping Beauty is definitely no fairy tale, it's sometimes unfeeling, it's grim and there is definitely no happy ending.

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. 

I adore this dressing gown, I'd kill for
 one that looked like this.
This movie is unlike any other fairytale re-telling I have ever watched. Leigh did an amazing job of interweaving the original idea of the fairy tale with the world of corporate erotica (silver spoon service) and fetishism, when I first read about the idea I was very apprehensive as I didn't think combining these elements together would work, I felt it would take away from the original story too much and be a very badly written movie. I was wrong, she made it work well and it definitely makes this film unique in it's interpretation. 

The movie was shot simplistically but there was something about it that made me adore the cinematography! Also the actors did an amazing job, especially Emily Browning as Lucy. Her character was really well written and she did an amazing job and deserves so much credit for how well the over all film turned out. She exposes her character emotionally as much as she had to reveal herself physically for the movie and shows how the character of Lucy has layers that are slowly peeled back throughout the movie and you find out more about her and are able to connect with the character, you find out she is more than a simple, struggling university student trying to get by. 

My issue with the movie was sometimes it felt too clinical. I mean this is about a girl falling into a dark world most people wouldn't know about or even comprehend and her personal experiences that lead her to this world to sometimes relatable circumstances. From having to have multiple jobs to pay for university fees to the alcoholic mother, the substance abuser agoraphobic friend 'Birdman' with whom is in love with her and the guilt she feels for not reciprocating. 
However this showing of her descent into this world felt cold to me. 
Also the so called 'sex' scenes in this moving were sometimes nauseating, from the ageing men doing what ever they want with her as penetration is not allowed, I mean one guy puts out a cigarette in her ear!! And the idea of of this situation where men favor their women being in the drugged slumber screams rape to me. 
The idea of this actually happening in reality makes my skin crawl!

This movie was a great piece of film work, it had its pros and cons and Leigh and Browning certainly did a fantastic job, however it was not a movie I would want to watch over and over again. 

I give it a 6/10 


1 comment:

  1. Great idea to blog about reviews. Enjoying you taste in films... clearly like mine so will definitely be checking back for more inspiration :)

    Abby x