Sleeping Beauty, directed by Julia Leigh, is the story of university student Lucy (Emily Browning) who willingly takes employment in an erotic filled establishment. The film follows her physical and mental search for understanding of the establishment and her boundaries; through her interactions with other willing participants, actress Rachael Blake, actors Peter Carroll and Chris Haywood.
The standout performance of the film is from Emily Browning, who immerses herself in a character that is completely willing, yet still requires answers to fulfil and justify her desires.
Browning, handles quite confronting scenes with a tenderness and fragility that draws the viewer in. She has a porcelain-like face, her movements are often slow, and delicate, although one feels at anymore she is going to alter her mindset and run out of frame.
It is easily understood why those participating in the erotic processes in the film are drawn to Browning’s character, because she manages to portray the willingness and sexual desire needed to divert this film from potentially being quite explicit and off-putting, to more of a sensual seedy drama.
Long after the film has finished, I am still drawn to Carroll’s performance. He delivers his moments on screen in a tender way, his mannerisms and his look seemed reassuring.
Sleeping Beauty will not be everyones cup of tea. It is a film that is confronting, but in no way ever oversteps its mark.
Every scene purposely invites you further in, without ever racing ahead, or languishing behind. I constantly felt intrigued as to the direction of the characters and their source of motivation, and never once felt the film, or its performances were crude or inappropriate.
It was common for me to think back to another film about desire: ‘Eyes Wide Shut’ , only because the atmosphere, the look and the slow deliberate performances in some scenes reminded me of Kubrick’s film (which I also liked).
Sleeping Beauty is an atmospheric gem which intrigues and delivers in almost every scene. Highly recommend: Score: B+