(1.5 stars) Uh... creepy as fuck. I mean like reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeally creepy. So, points for good production value. Points for a couple of oddly original scenes. Points for... well.. that's about it, really. The ending was unsatisfying, and I never really figured out Emily Browning's character's endgame. It was some poor writing combined with a creepfest of naked old guys violating naked Emily Browning. Yuck.
There's a bit of Salo in this. And Kubrick. "There is a measure of soft-core titillation in this, for sure, but Ms. Leigh observes Lucy’s body and what happens to it with a dreamy detachment that is seductive and unnerving in equal measure. As well as a little ridiculous....at times almost screamingly funny, a pointed, deadpan surrealist sex farce that Luis Buñuel might have admired."
As a first film for Julia Leigh, I think Sleeping Beauty was very artistic but lacked a engaging story line. The mystery aspect of the film was shown to the viewer toward the beginning of the film so the finale of Browning's character finding out the work she was doing was anticlimactic for the viewer. Otherwise the film was beautifully shot and has a cold narrative of a very realistic situation for struggling women.
This was a very artistic film, it was very evident to me seeing the way each scene was shot. There was a lot of symmetry in each shot and a very soft pastel color patterns. There many things that flew over my head when watching, and many scene that had me head scratching making me wonder "why was this necessary?" After doing a little research on the film some scenes started to make more sense. Over all, strange film.
In an inverted way, "SB is more about intimate relationships between women than it is about the corrosive marketplace of heterosexuality. Every time Lucy is in the frame w/ another female character, the moment seems loaded with all sorts of potential energy that almost but doesn't quite explode, whether it's narcissism, sexual attraction, violence, psychological breakdown or some combination."-A. O'Hehir, Salon 3.5
Ironically, this film is a cure for insomnia. Negative stars. It's the low-brow, poor-man's version of Eyes Wide Shut. Emily Browning's parents surely must be proud of their little girl's acting acumen and her talent for selecting roles. That is, her ability to strip, allow herself to be defiled and humiliated, and choose scripts drafted by hacks. Sleeping Beauty? It's Australian for 'shite' mate.
Quiet and horribly affecting the film seems timely in light of the recent social shifts in the film industry. The film acts as a prolonged visual essay of female objectification that left me chilled at the end of it. The film is told through imagery and very little speaking and this gives the scenes more meaning. It trusts the audience to understand the interplay of the moments and delivers on its end of the bargain.
Julia Leigh's "Sleeping Beauty" was exceptionally different. It's such an odd movie that can probably leave you feeling uncomfortable. A perspective this film provides us with is the fact that some people will do just about anything to make money in order to get by. One thing I enjoyed about this film was how cold and distant Lucy was to the world, but how sweet and genuine she was with her friend, Birdman.
Are the bad reactions because it hits too close to home and only a little above the subconscious belt? A conceptual rabbit punch we all deserve? I don’t think it’s much of a film, but as a fable it is as creepy and disquieting as the Grimm Brothers, and an effective piece of theater. The final shot, surveillance video, indicts our complicity in the economy of physical beauty of the underclass traded for money.