Hot off this years Cannes Film Festival, Director Julia Leigh's debut film is striking, controversial, and a little I don't know what. With famed director Jane Campion as a producer, this film is given automatic street cred. Starring the beautiful and fair skinned Emily Browning who has recently been seen in "Sucker Punch" and "The Uninvited", "Sleeping Beauty" seems to be lacking a certain something.
Browning plays Lucy a disenchanted college student who drifts through life working several jobs. She is a medical test subject, an office worker, and cleans tables at a cafe. We never get to know Lucy and what makes her tick and she is never really happy. She is extremely lonesome and seems to have suffered some sort of emotional trauma in her past. Her alcoholic mother calls her at one of her jobs and asks for money, but that is all we hear about her family. She answers an ad for a sort of waitress and is brought to a mansion that caters to a group exorbitantly rich perverts. This shady business is run Clara and operates as a sort of brothel. Lucy then agrees to be a sleeping beauty, which means she drinks a tea that knocks her out cold for a few hours while crusty old white men have their way with her. Although with the strict instruction that she not be penetrated.
Browning gives an extremely brave and fearless performance. She is nude in several scenes an makes the best of the material given. But nudity alone can't help that fact that the story is lacking in character and motivation. Lucy is a very intriguing person and there is a lot going on inside her, but Leigh never shows or implies any of it on screen. She is also involved with a terminally ill man named Birdman, their whole relationship is a little sketchy and underdeveloped.
Although I have to admit this movie is like a male film geeks paradise. You mean Baby Doll from "Sucker Punch" is in it, and she has several nude scenes? Yes and yes. The movie does have its faults and reeks of a first time director, but you really should see the movie for Emily Browning's performance because she really does do a great job.