Jul 30, 2021

Sleeping Beauty (2011)


Written and directed by novelist Julia Leigh, it's presented as an artsy work, based on various literary inspirations. But from my perspective, it's not much different than those sleazy movies playing at grindhouse and drive-in cinemas of the seventies (you know, like every movie covered on VZ1).  But it has the style and polish of a "legit" independent cinema production.

Lucy (Emily Browning) works several shitty jobs just to get by.

Her flatmate's boyfriend constantly nags her about the overdue rent.

Lucy is a bit of an eccentric and lonely girl.

Her crummy office job as a copy room peon. 

Her only friend in the world it seems is the equally eccentric Birdmann (Ewen Leslie).  Only with him can she laugh and be herself.

The overdue rent has prompted Lucy to seek other work.

She interviews with Clara (Rachael Blake) who runs a rather unique business.  Her employees aren't whores, but they do serve rich guys' fetishes.  No sex allowed; just being a topless waitress and such.

Lucy is inspected.

She's groomed, cleaned, etc.

Lucy continues to spend time with Birdman.

Her first day on the job, Lucy finds she's the only one in white.

Her job is to simply serve a bunch of rich fucks.

Other than getting purposefully tripped, the evening goes very well for Lucy. 

Lucy's eccentric behavior gets her fired at the office job.  But it doesn't matter much - her new job pays much better.

Clara kicks things up a notch for Lucy's next gig.  She's given a tea which knocks her out.  A rich fuck is permitted to play around with her unconscious body - but no sex is allowed, nor can he leave any mark on her body.

The rich fuck just admires the sleeping beauty. 

Lucy is earning enough money now to tell her flatmate's boyfriend to kiss her ass.  She can afford her own place now.

Lucy's next gig as the sleeping beauty.

This dude is a little less gentle than the last guy.

Little does she realize, he's not screwing her, but he sure is doing gross things all over her body.

The Birdman has overdosed on painkillers.

Rather than call an ambulance, she gets naked and cuddles with him.

Birdman fucking dies.

Lucy and the Birdman used to always playfully ask each other to get married.  At Birdman's funeral, she tries the same playful "will you marry me?" with an ex-boyfriend (Henry Nixon) and doesn't get the response she expected.  He says hell no, and tells her off and explains how messed-up she is. 

Lucy's next job as a sleeping beauty.

This rich fuck attempts to carry her around.

He's so old, he accidentally drops her.

He tries to put her back on the bed.  It's a bit of a disaster.  When Lucy wakes up, she finds she has marks from whatever happened when she was unconscious.

Due to that event, Lucy asks Clara if she will check in on her while she's unconscious.  Clara refuses as this would violate the agreement with the client, and potentially lead to a blackmail situation. 

So, Lucy takes matters into her own hands.  On the verge of passing out from the tea, Lucy stumbles to the cabinet and plants a recording device.

Later, Clara checks on them and finds the guy has died from taking too much of the tea.  Lucy is revived.

When she awakens and finds the dead dude next to her, she lets out a primal scream.  The movie ends.

The frequent nudity from Emily Browning is very nice; but without it, there's nothing for anyone to see here.  Maybe there's a message a theater major could glean, but from where I sat, it felt plodding and try-hard.  It's beautifully shot, and Browning is a good actress, but I'm yawning as I type this, just thinking about this dour and morose "sleepy" movie. 


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