Thursday, November 8, 2012

A review of "Sleeping Beauty"


Confessions of a Film Junkie: A review of “Sleeping Beauty”
By: Brian Cotnoir

Why Emily Browning? Why?
     I swore to myself after the first time I saw the trailer for this film, that I would never see this film (let alone review it) because just from the brief description I got of the film’s plot it sounded terrifying and unpleasant.  However, like other films I claimed I would never review for this blog, I found the opportunity to write a review of this film to be just too tempting.  I am beginning to suspect that I might be some sort of “Cine-Masochist”, if you will, and that I actually enjoy torturing myself psychologically by watching these films.  This aint no Disney fairy tale  it’s more like a Lars Von Trier Wet-dream. So without further adieu here is my review of the 2011 Australian erotic/drama, “Sleeping Beauty”.     

The Sleeping Beauty Prepares
So the film’s plot centers around a college student named Lucy, who is played by Actress Emily Browning (aka “Baby Doll” from Sucker Punch). Lucy has fallen on some tough financial times and works multiple odd jobs to pay for her rent and tuition payments.  One day Lucy applies for a job at a Silver Service company that caters to a wealth clientele.  After a while Lucy takes up a position as a Sleeping Beauty.  What is a “Sleeping Beauty” you may ask?  A “Sleeping Beauty’s” work detail consists of drinking a special tea laced with powerful sedatives, and then being stripped naked and placed in a bed where old men—who have severe erectile dysfunction—can lie beside her and fondle her while she’s unconscious.                  
     The customers are allowed to anything they want to the “Sleeping Beauty’s”, except penetration, which is not a difficult rule for the client’s to follow because, as I’ve said, they are all incapable of getting it up.  This does sound a lot like date rape, but since all the men in the film that pay for the “Sleeping Beauty” have E.D., you really don’t get the sense that Lucy is any real danger and is going to be sexually violated, so a great deal of the dramatic tension is lost on those scenes (Thank God!).  It’s like if someone tried to commit a robbery by using garden hose for a weapon instead of a gun or knife.                                                        

I had the same reaction after finishing this film, but my tears
were tears of pain, not tears of sadness :(
   This film has a ton of flaws.  First thing wrong with the film is that it is established that Lucy takes the job as a Sleeping Beauty to help pay for college.  What is Lucy studying?  I don’t know.  We get maybe two total scenes of her actually in class, but it’s never specified what she is studying.  The reason why I find this to be an issue is because the story establishes that she only accepts the job as a “sleeping beauty” to help pay for her college, and we never see interact with her classmates or professors in class.  We don’t even get the cliché scene of the Professor asking why she’s missing so much class, so it doesn’t feel like she takes her school work very seriously or even works hard for good grades, and this tempts me to believe that she doesn’t actually need to be a sleeping beauty.      
        Along with Lucy’s “education” plot-hole that doesn’t really go anywhere, we are treated to a plethora of other side stories that don’t really have any relevance to the plot.  For example, Lucy is estranged from her mother and it is mentioned a few times early on in the film, but it is never fully explained why she and her mother do not get along with one another.  It’s briefly mentioned by Lucy that her mother may be an alcoholic, but since Lucy’s mother never appears on screen, it’s never really clarified if it is true at any point in the film.          
         Lucy also has a friendship with this guy known as “Birdman”, but we never find out if he’s just a friend or a love interest.  He just appears every now and then in a few scenes with Lucy.  He is an alcoholic and (SPOILER!) at some point in the film it is mentioned that he has died, and they never specify what was his cause death. I believe that Birdman’s death was probably drug/alcohol related fatality...I think.        
            There are a few scenes where Lucy asks different men to marry her, but once again we have NO FUCKING CLUE WHY SHE DOES THAT!  I have this theory that the reason why Lucy asks these random men to marry her is that she hopes one of them will take her seriously and marry her so she has someone to can support her and take care of her, but I have zero evidence from the film to confirm this theory.                              

This Guy Is so Awkward!
Then there’s this one scene where one of the clients that pays to spend the night with Lucy just stares directly into the camera and starts rambling off a story...FOR FIVE STRAIGHT MINTUES!!!  The story is supposed to represent some sort of metaphor for the man’s life, I guess, but all it really is, is weird and awkward to the film’s plot, and it’s pretty bad when you have to identify the most awkward part of a film that is already very awkward to watch.                                  
          Speaking of ‘awkward’ let me try to explain the dialogue in the film. Some examples of the films brilliant screen writing include many memorable quotations such as; “My vagina is not a temple”, “Can we watch some porn?”, “The only way I can get it up is if I swallowed a truck full of Viagra and a girl shoved two fingers up my ass”, “Match you lipstick to the color of your labia”, and my personal favorite “I would really love to suck your cock” (ßI could listen to Emily Browning say that line on loop all day long).  Who the hell talks like this or thought this would make for some great dialogue?!                         
    My final opinion on “Sleeping Beauty” is that this is an awkward and confusing film to sit through, and unless you want to see Emily Browning naked, you should probably avoid it entirely. IT. STINKS. 



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