Sleeping Beauty


Action / Drama / Romance


Uploaded By: OTTO
Downloaded 70,656 times
February 25, 2012 at 03:03 AM



Sarah Snook as Flatmate
Nathan Page as Businessman 2
649.68 MB
Not Rated
23.976 fps
1hr 41 min
P/S 7 / 15

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Boloxxxi 6 / 10

Brave - but too obscure

Nobody in the movie actually said the lines above but it is the clear implication when a bunch of wealthy, but sexually and emotionally impotent old men gratify themselves (sort of) with a drugged, unconscious young woman.

A young woman (Lucy) is hired by a service that caters to old rich guys. It's kind of an Old Guys Club where scantily clad and semi-nude young women serve the members their meals and drinks, and such. Of particular note though -and hence the title- is that this young woman is later hired for extra duties that calls for her to take some drug that puts her to sleep while the old guys (individually) have there way with her (They wish!). However there is a stipulation of "no penetration" (Drats!)

It is the offbeat nature of this movie and it's curious lead character that makes it interesting. If there were lots of movies like this I might have given it a lower rating (Someone else might have done it better, who knows). But this movie is kind of out there by itself. Another of those "little movies" giving big-budget productions the finger by being more interesting than many of them; doing more with less money but with more courage, intelligence, and originality.

Lucy is a "passive-aggressive" harboring resentment against those who dominate her and herself for letting them. The movie is all about her curious way of living with and remedying this situation. Lucy fights back by being compliant -or pliant- take your pick. As well, by doing "small things" (petty) to get back at the powers that be. I had to feel sorry for her and chuckle at the same time when she took a handful of berries or something and dumped them quietly in the back of an expensive and well kept car. Another example of her "getting back" is that the first thing she did when she got her first payment for her services to the Old Guys Club is burn one of the bills. This she did not to their face, but quietly, by herself at home. That, in my humble opinion, was a big passive-aggressive "F!!ck you!" to the powers that be. There's a basic recklessness in Lucy that seems self-destructive. This young woman probably has never said "No" to any drug she's ever been offered. If you choose to see the movie you might wind up being an arm-chair psychologist like myself. So it's a movie that makes you think, makes you wonder, "What's up with that girl?"

There is a clear irony here: The old men are influential and rich but they're also sexually impotent. Lucy on the other hand, while not having their wealth, self-confidence, and influence is a potent sexual symbol; young, attractive, and desirable. Some of the old guys admire it, others resent it. Two types of cripples, then, drawn to each other. One needing youth, beauty, and sexual power and the other financially dependent on them and lacking the courage to stick up for herself; assert her own person. Finally, I'm thinking that if the old guys could have a boner they'd want Lucy awake to see it. Love, Boloxxxi.

Reviewed by Marter2 7 / 10


When you create a film and title it "Sleeping Beauty," you had better not make it boring. Otherwise, you'll get reviews utilizing every possible play on the word "sleep," but more importantly, word of mouth will spread using the same types of puns. When you use a title made famous by the Disney animation, you're going to have to guard against those comparisons as well. As you can see, this film is already on the defensive.

To put even more pressure on "Sleeping Beauty," before it has even begun, is the fact that it is the directorial debut of a novelist. Julia Leigh also wrote the screenplay, but it is her first time stepping behind the camera to helm a film production. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it means an even bigger risk was taken by the studios, and just as many debuts fall flat as they do flourish. Luckily, Leigh's is a success, even if her film isn't going to be something that many people are going to enjoy.

To start the film, we begin by watching the daily routine of a young woman named Lucy (Emily Browning). The first scene made me cringe, as we find out that one of her many jobs involves testing out medical equipment. We watch a tube being inserted down her throat. This is done in one unflinching shot that has the opposite effect on the viewer. Later on, we learn she also does office work and works at a restaurant, but the medical testing was by far her worst job.

Why does she need to work three jobs? That's really a good question. We learn that she's behind on her rent, and also goes to school. Maybe school is really expensive, but she only seems to have one class, which can't be too heavy a burden. She's renting a room from people she knows, and I wouldn't think that would be that expensive either. Why she doesn't pay her rent on time, I'll never know. This isn't a film that's going to lay things out for you.

Because working three jobs isn't enough for Lucy, she inquires about an ad in the paper that requires her to serve dinner to old rich men while wearing lingerie. It pays $250 an hour, although it's freelance work, we're told. She works once, and after she gets home, she burns a $20 bill. Why? Again, I don't know, and it's actions like this that make me think she isn't wanting for cash. Regardless, working multiple jobs, including the dinner-while-wearing-lingerie one, continues for most of the film, even as her performance gets so bad that she sometimes sleeps on the floor while working.

Sleeping is something she'll end up doing quite a bit as the film continues on. She was told when she took the server job that there were opportunities for promotion. She gets that chance later on, when she's told that she can take a drug, lay naked in bed while passed out, and sleep for a few hours. Oh, and an elderly man will come in and sleep with her while she's knocked out. "Sleep with" in the literal sense of the meaning, as actual intercourse is forbidden.

Not that Lucy really cares. She doesn't seem to care much about herself, and would probably have accepted the job without the binding rule. She's the type of nihilist that will do whatever anyone wants her to do at the flip of a coin. At a bar, she's approached and asked if she wants some cocaine. "Why not?" is her response. Later, two men she just met actually use a coin to decide which one would have sex with her that night. She doesn't care, although come to think of it, I can't remember her saying "no" once to anyone in the film. She's very polite, even if she has no regard for her own body.

There's a lot of symbolism in the film, and if you thought this was a film that's going to make it easy on you, you can look elsewhere. You're going to have to infer a great deal about the characters and their reason for doing what they do for most of the time you watch them. I can see this being seen by some as a lack of character depth and development, but I think it's all there and just hidden behind imagery and a classic fairy tale. The way I saw "Sleeping Beauty," it actually does steal a couple of things from Disney cartoon. Unfortunately, giving that away now might change the way you view the film, so instead, go in with as fresh a mind as you can. This is a movie that will reward subsequent viewings.

If there's a problem here, it's the character of Lucy. She's often difficult to like, and because she's such an apathetic person, not a lot goes on. She's little farther, for better or worse, when the film ends than when it began. None of the blame can go to Emily Browning, as she plays her without fear, but the way the character is written means that she's not exactly amiable or has a decent enough personality to build a film around. This is largely forgotten about once it gets going, but upon reflection, making her grow as the film progressed would have improved it as a whole.

Regardless, I was engaged by "Sleeping Beauty." Is it for everyone? Not at all. If you like artsy films that are there for you to figure out instead of being told everything about them, then it might work for you. It has a solid performance from Emily Browning in the lead role, and it has enough imagery and symbolism to keep you coming back for another watch. That is, if you don't fall asleep during the first time.

Reviewed by Likes_Ninjas90 7 / 10

It's difficult to fault the film's artistry and its originality

Lucy (Emily Browning) is a student working on a number of jobs. She's a waitress, she works in an office and she's involved with a science experiment at her university too. She's not co-operating with her housemates though and the rent is overdue. When she sees an ad in the paper she applies for it. She's driven to a manor house where she meets Clara (Rachael Blake). Clara describes the job, which involves Lucy being sedated in a bed and allowing men to watch her sleep. Lucy is assured that she will not be penetrated. Her first task with several other women is to serve a group of old men dinner at the manor house. After this she is put in a deep sleep and studied individually by three different men. Outside her job, one of Lucy's few relationships is with an old friend of hers called Birdmann (Ewen Leslie), a recovering alcoholic.

Sleeping Beauty, the directional debut of Julia Leigh, is a film strictly for those seeking a more challenging and ambiguous brand of cinema. Its minimalism and utter restraint works mostly for rather than against its purpose. The film is richly successful in creating a world that's entirely consuming and isolating for its protagonist. Leigh relies on desaturation, like white colour palettes, to visualise this alienation. The majority of the film is also elegantly photographed at a distance using a wide angle shot to represent the isolation as Lucy becomes an individual, overwhelmed by her surroundings. Save for a misplaced phone box, it was pleasing to see a familiar location, with numerous scenes being shot at the University of Sydney. Leigh has an equally skillful understanding of the power of silence too. Music is almost nonexistent and the dialogue is sparing so we rely entirely on our vision here; making the film compelling and tense for its entirety. And it's extremely leisurely paced too, holding scenes for a very long time, with particular still framing, from a near-invisible camera. These formal aspects work to produce a dream-like state of slow, concentrated and delicate movements. As each scene fades to black, like the shutting of an eyelid, it becomes increasingly apparent that Lucy is almost sleeping walking through her life, with no prince to wake her up.

Rather mistakenly, a lot will be made about the film's morally ambiguous view of sexuality. The film does not include any sex scenes. It is a strict rule of the organisation that there is no penetration. As suggested by the composition, the film is more fascinatingly occupied by voyeuristic tendencies but also the desire to awaken our deepest fantasies. This is visualised through a number of scenes at the manor house. The first is the most confronting, where topless women, covered in thin, revealing straps, cater for old men as they poor them drinks and serve them dinner. It's gratuitous but that's precisely the point because its one geezers bizarre fantasy to another. There are three additional encounters in the bedroom itself: one man who is lightly physically, moving his hands across Lucy's back; another who is intensely aggressive and the third is someone who simply mishandles her. The contrast to this is Lucy who as the sleeping beauty can only realise her fantasies through words. The dialogue drifts between outright coarse and maddeningly cryptic. Lucy asks her friend Birdmann if he'll marry her, not as a proposal, but as self-assurance. This suggests again that the characters in Leigh's world need to hear what they want to hear to be satisfied. The film falters with these side characters like Birdmann because we don't know enough about them and they tend to fade in and out of the film for lengthy stretches of time. And some will lament Emily Browning's subdued performance for its lack of personality but given the dream-like state of her character it actually suits the film. Her slender frame too makes her a particularly diminutive outcast. The film's ambiguity, isolation and peculiarity, will be detrimental for a lot of viewers. It's unlikely to attract big audiences because it is a slow, unnerving experience. But it's difficult to fault the film's artistry and its originality. Some people at the screening I went to left early. More fool them. I kept watching.

Read more IMDb reviews


Be the first to leave a comment