Sleeping Beauty is a film by Julia Leigh which follows Lucy, a student who struggles to afford her rent, has a strong relationship of sorts with a suicidal alcoholic and undertakes in prostitution. One may think at first that Lucy is struggling, however it becomes clear that Lucy thrives on her self destructive behavior and her situation seems to be largely a result of her own doing.
Lucy answers an advertisement for work that ultimately sees her working as a 'sleeping beauty', whereby she is drugged and left in a room asleep which is then rented out to (older) men who can do as they please, except have sex. Oddly Lucy never shows interest in being involved for the money, rather her motives are entirely unclear and this is one of the many areas whereby Sleeping Beauty stumbles. In spite of how strong Emily Browning's performance is as Lucy, their is a lack of any depth to the character as motivations are never explored and Lucy is devoid of any personality beyond being self destructive. Likewise the supposed theme 'present' regarding the desires of men is never explored, rather the film fells comfortable with simply pointing out that men can have some questionable 'desires' and never takes it any further which makes for what is and insufferably uninteresting film and one that tries to rely on shock value for the sake of being shocking.
Sleeping Beauty however is meticulously shoot and is generally gorgeous to look at, however the editing is often heavy handed and features far to many unnecessary scenes that ultimately lead no where (much like the film). Initially I thought this may be an analogy for youth, but as the film continued this become continuously less likely. Ultimately Sleeping Beauty is without direction or purpose, this is unfortunate as had their been a more focused narrative, more depth to the characters present and and actual exploration of the ideas and themes present, we could have had a truly unique and interesting film. Sadly as it is Sleeping Beauty is a film that whilst undeniably unique is devoid of anything of interest or anything I could describe as entertaining.
My recommendation, stay far away.