The age old fable says that SLEEPING BEAUTY was cursed on the day of her christening since the King and Queen mistakenly skipped inviting a particular wicked witch to the special occasion. The wicked witch set a curse upon the princess; a curse that says she would die by pricking herself by a spindle. One of the princesses fair godmothers reversed this curse and stated that she wouldn’t die however instead would fall into a deep sleep for 100 years instead until woken by a kiss from a handsome prince. The story of SLEEPING BEAUTY told by director/writer Julia Leigh isn’t quite the fairytale we have familiarized ourselves with. Instead it is surprisingly a story of a beautiful young girl who is born into a very realistic unfortunate life and is being plummeted into possibly the darkest paths of life merely to meet the basic needs of survival as stated by Professor Abraham Maslow.
Julia Leigh who had her movie open at the Cannes Film Festival in 2011 created panic amongst its viewers. SLEEPING BEAUTY is shockingly a surprise and most certainly not something one would expect to experience. The very sexually unequivocal and raw footage personifies certain makings of Julia Leigh as a director who isn’t afraid of expressing her views and also this script although fiction or fact certainly will raise a few eyebrows of the insanely rich and upper-class community around the world. Although this isn’t the first time exploitation of young teenage girls has been highlighted, this is a first it being said so aloud.
Whilst the movie SLEEPING BEAUTY and the controversial approach of Julia Leighs direction is a deal breaker in certain nations for rights in public viewing, the performance of Emily Browning sucker punches her performance of baby doll in SUCKER PUNCH. Very high demands are made by Julia Leigh on Emily Browning’s performances and she remains calm, poise and professional. It is quite obvious that this movie indeed will bring Browning into the light of many directors. This being said allow me to emphasize; the performance isn’t her countless frames of nudity. It’s instead how she reaches to her character of Lucy. How she justifies to the viewer why she does what she does in the movie while portraying a feel of she herself not knowing what she is doing to herself.
Lucy is a teenager who juggles between jobs and university to meet her needs of food and shelter. Lucy waits tables; works in a back office collating documents also at the same time works at a science lab as a subject for medical experiments and also is the occasional escort for men at the local drink houses. It is at this time that she comes across an advert in the presumed university circular. She is given an appointment for an interview wear she is met by Clara. Clara is lady of an aristocratic aura and is in the business of catering for parties of the insanely rich and eccentric. A lingerie waitress is what she would be is the exact job description given to Lucy by Clara. The only interview was for Lucy to strip down to her undergarments, where she was examined for bodily imperfections by Clara and her assistant Thomas. Lucy who is successful in securing the job is called upon from time to time to wait dinner parties clad in simply fashionable undergarments and garters.
SLEEPING BEAUTY isn’t enjoyable and is hell bent on being stubbornly silent. However as a piece of art SLEEPING BEAUTY is a brilliant piece in terms of acting, direction and theme. Yet not even at one point of time do all these 3 elements work together to call this even a slightly good movie. 4 Stars on direction, 5 stars on acting and just 2 stars for SLEEPING BEAUTY; that too is out of sympathy.
Title: Sleeping Beauty
Directed by: Julia Leigh
Starring: Emily Browning, Rachael Blake and Ewen Leslie
Rated: Not Rated in the USA