Sleeping Beauty 2011

A haunting portrait of Lucy, a young university student drawn into a mysterious hidden world of unspoken desires.
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Strong sexual themes, nudity and coarse language


Julia Leigh - the award-winning Australian author of The Hunter and Disquiet - was mentored by Jane Campion on her filmmaking debut, an unsettling erotic fairytale selected for Official Competition at the Cannes Film Festival. Emily Browning is alabaster perfection as Lucy, a university student working numerous self-effacing jobs. She is socially isolated from her housemates and fellow students and spends her limited free time ministering to the peculiar desires of her morbidly depressed best friend Birdmann (Ewen Leslie). Her strong-willed drift towards oblivion is anchored only by a need for money and she signs up with an exclusive lingerie club run by the elegant Clara (Rachael Blake), whose controlling demeanor is both intoxicating and comforting. Like a heroine from a film by Marguerite Duras or Luis Buñuel (directors with whom Leigh shares an austere intellectualism and visual mannerism respectively), Lucy is a sexual and thinking being, neither innocent nor totally complicit. Mysterious and bewitching, her disruptive impulses derive from a mix of boredom and discontentedness and ultimately lead her into a dangerous, heady slumber from which, like the titular princess, she will be awakened.


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Critic Reviews

  • Sleeping Beauty Review

    Reviewed by Simon Miraudo

    I remember seeing a production of Samuel Beckett’s Happy Days with my high school drama class. For those unfamiliar with the play, it features a woman trapped in a mound of dirt for two long acts; ...

    + Read the full review

Member Reviews

  • Not my style. too slow and no likeable characters

  • We liked it. Quite apart form the obvious charms of Emily Browning it was an interesting story about a self-destructive personality getting way out of her depth. The pacing was good, the cinematography was beautiful. If you are used to/appreciative of movies as art then you should enjoy it, otherwise stay away

  • If a man had written & directed this movie, it would have been derided by feminists as misogynist, male-fantasy tripe. Obvious similarities to Kubrick's "Eyes Wide Shut"(which was misogynist, male-fantasy tripe). Some problems with the story-line: eg surely someone working 2 jobs can afford the rent in a share-house!

  • Slow and boring. What a waste of celluloid as hey use to say.

  • Very demanding role for Emily Browning. Confronting in it's emotions.

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