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Sleeping Beauty (2011)

 -  Drama | Romance  -  2 December 2011 (USA)
5.3
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Ratings: 5.3/10 from 20,556 users   Metascore: 57/100
Reviews: 101 user | 147 critic | 20 from Metacritic.com

A haunting portrait of Lucy, a young university student drawn into a mysterious hidden world of unspoken desires.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Bridgette Barrett ...
Dinner Waitress
...
Hannah Bella Bowden ...
Dinner Waitress
...
Alan Cardy ...
Dinner Guest
Peter Carroll ...
...
Benita Collings ...
Dinner Guest
...
Cook
...
...
Train Riding Hairdresser
...
...
Guy with Ticket
Robin Goldsworthy ...
Vernon Hayman ...
Dinner Guest
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Storyline

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 clerk 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. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

| |  »

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

2 December 2011 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Beleza Adormecida  »

Box Office

Budget:

AUD 3,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$9,207 (USA) (2 December 2011)

Gross:

$29,004 (USA) (16 December 2011)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Was the first Australian movie to premiere in competition at the Cannes Film Festival since Moulin Rouge! (2001) a decade before. See more »

Goofs

When Lucy is telling her mom her credit card number she only says twelve digits. Visa cards have thirteen or sixteen. See more »

Quotes

Man 1: Rise up and walk, none of your bones are broken.
See more »

Connections

Version of House of Sleeping Beauties (1995) See more »

Soundtracks

What Gives
Written by D. Tek and W. Gilbert
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Don't Fall Asleep. You Might Miss It!
20 December 2011 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

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.


74 of 100 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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