|Julia Leigh director|
A university student falls into working for a shady high-end prostitution service that specialize in discreetly catering to bizarre and strange fetishes. She decides to volunteer for the "Sleeping Beauty" service in which she passes out after taking drugs and lets her clients do what they want.
2 More Quotes
You are very beautiful, and very talented. But we can make you even more beautiful. Even more talented.
|Peter Carroll||Man #1|
|Chris Haywood||Man #2|
|Hugh Keays-Byrne||Man #3|
|Bridgette Barrett||Dinner Waitress|
|Hannah Bella Bowden||Dinner Waitress|
|Benita Collings||Dinner Guest|
|See Full Credits|
Sleeping Beauty is a 2011 Australian erotic drama written and directed by Julia Leigh. This is her debut as a director. It stars Emily Browning who plays Lucy. Lucy is a young university student who takes a job as a "Sleeping Beauty". In the Sleeping Beauty Chamber, old men seek an erotic experience that requires Lucy's absolute submission. This unsettling task starts to bleed into Lucy's daily life and she develops an increasing need to know what happens to her when she sleeps.
Julia Leigh, in an interview mentions she had a terrible nightmare that she was being filmed in her sleep. "You're dreaming that you are asleep in your own bed when in fact, you are asleep in your own bed."
Ms. Leigh acknowledged the influence of a pair of well-known books by Nobel laureates, Yasunari Kawabata’s “House of the Sleeping Beauties” and Gabriel García Márquez’s “Memories of My Melancholy Whores.”
Julia Leigh thought of the film as social awareness of this idea, an old man sleeping alongside a drugged young girl. "The film actually has antecedence in the culture. You have the classic fairytale. You have the bible story of King David descending out to sleep beside young virgins. I mean imagine what that would have been like for those young girls. You have a very well known novella by Gabriel García Márquez that tell the story from the point of view of an older man paying to spend the night alongside a drugged girl. You have sleeping girls on the Internet, so a couple of these things were out there in the ether and I was responding to them and transforming them."
Lucy (Emily Browning) is an Austrailian college student who holds a number of odd jobs; she volunteers as a test subject at the college lab, works as a cleaner/server at a small diner and a copy girl at an unnamed office. She also is seen at a wealthy bar offering herself as a sex partner. She has a room at an apartment where her landlord obviously doesn't like her, and she spends her time visiting an aloof man known only as Birdmann (Ewen Leslie). He is attracted to her, but she doesn't return the affection, though she does seem happier with him than at any other time. Lucy responds to an ad in the student newspaper and is invited to meet with Clara (Rachael Blake) who describes the job; to do freelance silver courting service in lingerie provided by her group. Lucy agrees with no hesitation and Clara says that there is no penetration involved, despite Lucy making it clear that isn't a problem for her. However, there is not only silver service waitressing, and Clara lies about not using drugs, but Clara accepts the job anyway.
Afterwards, Lucy is seen getting ready for this strange new job by getting a pedicure and later on showing off her silver-service pouring skills for Birdmann before arriving for the event. She is the only girl dressed in white lingerie which mostly covers her breasts; the other girls seem much older, have black hair and black cut-out lingerie with some emblematic writing on their foreheads. The event is a formal dinner party for one woman and five elderly gentlemen. Lucy serves drinks throughout the party but is excused when one of the guests trips her purposely causing a bottle to fall and smash on the floor. She goes home with the money she made, counts out her rent, then burns that money.
After at least one other session as a serving girl, Lucy gets a call from Clara's assistant Thomas (Eden Falk) for a different request that doesn't pertain to waitressing. Lucy is driven to a country mansion where Clara informs her that she'll drink some tea with a drug in it and then fall into a deep sleep. Later we see Lucy lying in a large bed, sedated, as Clara leads in the man (Peter Carroll) who hosted the first dinner party. He gives a soliloquoy referencing a passage in Ingeborg Bachmann's Thirtieth Year. After reminding him of the no penetration rule, he strips and caresses Lucy's body. The film fades to black after each of these sessions.
Her personal life begins changing at that point. Birdman confesses that he's not going to make it, won't be able to commit to detox when it is suggested by Lucy. Lucy is also evicted from her room because she didn't pay the money that was burned earlier, and gets a much more expensive high-rise apartment instead. In her second session as a "sleeping beauty" at Clara's mansion, this second man (Chris Haywood) burns her slightly with a cigarrette. Birdman calls her; he has overdosed on drugs and she visits him as he dies. At his funeral, Lucy talks to a former ex-boyfriend and blandly asks him if he'll marry her. He is dumbfounded and refuses as he's married to Helen, and points out several character flaws in Lucy.
Afterwards, she is fired from her office job, but no explanation is given. Lucy then buys a small button-sized, concealable camera at an electronics store and tests it during one of her maths classes. At her next assignment with Clara, she asks if she can see what happens while she is asleep, but Clara refuses to put her clients at risk of exposure or blackmail. However, when Lucy is in the bed, she awakes and regurgitates the small camera and struggles to place it in the room. She then returns to bed and falls asleep. The first man is the client again, but this time he also takes the tea for sleeping. Clara comes in to check on them, and sees the sleeping client. She feels no pulse on the man, and he's presumed dead. Clara tries to wake Lucy and can't, eventually having to use mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Lucy wakes and sees the naked man and begins screaming. After, the video reveals that the man was just sleeping nude in the bed next to her.
The Sleeping Beauty script made the 2008 Hollywood Black List of unproduced screenplays. In September 2009, the project was approved for funding from Screen Australia. In February 2010, it was announced that Emily Browning would play the lead role. Mia Wasikowska (Alice in Wonderland) was originally cast as Lucy but dropped out in favor of playing the title role in Jane Eyre.
First draft was put together in about 10 days. She showed it to many producers, " I talked to more than a dozen people, with some saying ‘no way’, others saying ‘it’s great but it’s missing a third act’ and that kind of jargon”, until one well-known producer (Jane Campion) accepted it and told her to stick to the vision.
The script was sent to Emily Browning, and she immediately accepted. "Emily put down a test on tape, and I found that I couldn’t take my eyes off her. She has something going on beneath the surface, this tip-of-the-iceberg feeling."
On the decision to use long shots for the chamber scenes, Leigh explains: "So I gave a great deal of thought in to the camera and how we would do that all in one long shot. I hoped that the camera would be a tender, steady witness and the point of view of the camera in the chamber where it’s pretty much on the fourth wall of that room which involves the audience. I did want the audience to knowingly watch the film so to be aware of the act of watching and similarly to bring their hearing up to quite an acute level; that feeling where you could have heard a pin drop. I wanted to sort of heighten the responses of the audience."
The film has received mixed reviews, with a 50% Rotten Tomatoes score. Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian gave it 3 stars, and called it: "Technically elegant with vehemence and control ... Emily Browning gives a fierce and powerful performance ... There is force and originality in Leigh's work". However, David Rooney of Hollywood Reporter called it: "Soporific in every sense". Salon's Andrew O'Hehir thought it was "gorgeous, opaque, and disturbing". David Noh of Film Journal International found it pretentious: "This study of a young girl's descent into a most rarefied form of whoring is as coldly clinical as it is annoyingly pretentious." On the longtime appeal, Melissa Anderson of Village Voice says: "Sleeping Beauty never burrows into the brain, and its tenuous provocations fizzle out quickly."
Trailer: Sleeping Beauty
Emily Browning is a young beauty becomes a prostitute who submits to being drugged by men who have sex with her while she sleeps. I guess it's still preferable to starring in Sucker Punch.
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