Sleeping Beauty

Sleeping Beauty Poster

The premise was somewhat intriguing: In exchange of a pretty large amount of money, young women are getting lulled to be delivered to wealthy customers; when they wake up, they don’t remember anything.

For her first film, writer/director Julia Leigh delivers a work that aims at teasing the spectator’s sensitivity without falling into gratuitous provocation. But it is not enough to make this film successful.

Lucy goes to college, works in a pub, makes copies for a company, serves as a guinea pig in a lab, hooks up in a trendy bar and supports a sick friend who only has a few days to live – a pretty unspectacular life, until she applies to a quite bizarre job ad: serving as a sex object while sleeping.

If Emily Browning (Sucker Punch) does not demerit, carrying the film from the beginning to the end and blowing sensuality into a character inhabited by both a fragility and a rebellious strength, Julia Leigh’s cold direction, based on short sequences and elegant shots, undermines the impact of the ensemble.

While the screenplay can certainly be credited to turn Sleeping Beauty in a quite hermetic work, the director’s failure to find balance between self-restraint and scandal emphasizes this feeling. For example, instead of keeping the mystery intact regarding the clients’ behavior while the girls sleep, the director shows it all right from the beginning, making the following scenes redundant.

The editing is mostly built on a succession of vignettes showcasing Lucy’s everyday life, the desperate conduct of the dirty old men and the sensuality coming from Lucy’s beautiful body failing at saving the spectators from boredom. Despite its sophisticated stylistic ambitions, Sleeping Beauty can’t save itself from being a quite vain and artificial work.

Director: Julia Leigh – Actors: Emily Browning, Michael Dorman – Running Time: 1:40 – Year: 2012 – Country: Australia

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Moland Fengkov

Moland Fengkov

Based in Paris, Moland is a journalist and photographer; He is more particularly responsible for covering the Cannes film festival for Plume Noire, writing movie reviews and taking gorgeous pictures.
Moland Fengkov

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