Lucy (Emily Browning) is a university student with a plethora of part time jobs, including science-lab guinea pig and two-bit prostitute. After replying to a mysterious ad in a newspaper, she enters a world where bizarre sexual fantasies bleed into her
"Sleeping Beauty" is beautiful to watch. Browning is so breathtaking, and the composition and lighting are so sensual that the film could easily be a fashion shoot (where the model only has three sets of clothes). It's one of those films that instantly intrigues you, and seduces you with the promise of what you will discover. Unfortunately, once you get to the end, you realise you've been seduced by a vacuous boob.
Browning ambles through the film as a bleak creature whose motives are never clear, and who responds with passivity to most of the things that she encounters. The people she meets are cold and unblinking, just like her. There are no answers, and nothing is resolved. I get the impression that first time director Julia Leigh wanted to create something subtle and haunting. A statement about the dark places people will descend to when they are divorced from their emotions? A commentary on male sexuality without love? Probably, but the lack of clarity or warmth make it bloody boring to watch.
All this said, I do think it's an accomplished directorial debut, and Browning, though she doesn't seem to do much except look enigmatically beautiful, gives a very strong performance. It's one of those films that will divide opinion. Personally I'm into story, and strong characterisation, but if you're into highly-stylised films that are low on plot you might enjoy it.