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  • Gareth Crook

Sleeping Beauty (2011)

After watching God Help The Girl recently I wondered what else has Emily Browning done? Not that much is the answer. Lots of TV, but not much film. Which is a shame. Now she’s great in God Help The Girl and I love that film. Sleepy Beauty is something completely different. It is DARK, but a very voyeuristic sort of dark. Browning plays Lucy. Lucy is behind on the rent. Lucy is working several jobs. Lucy’s jobs are very varied. Coffee shops, offices, drug trials. Answering to another job ad, things take that dark turn. The job is working in silver service, but practically naked. In fact Lucy spends half the film practically naked. Lucy (or Sara as she’s to be known in her new occupation) is a hedonistic character, self destructive, non conformist. I’d like to say she’s in control, making her own choices, but it feels like an illusion. Things start to take a darker turn the more she works, especially when she’s invited to a large country house to be drugged and sleep. It’s always an opulent location, this being a world of white wealthy weirdos. Everything is meticulous, but this just appears as a ruse to excuse or enhance desire. I say weirdos. Each to their own, but this is definitely painted to suggest deviancy. From beginning to end it tries hard to convince that this is interesting conceptual film making, lofty, artistic. It’s not. It’s shit. Creepy and unnerving, Lucy makes it through the nights and her lucrative new job allows her to move out of the shared flat, just as she’s being kicked out. With the new fancy high rise apartment though, comes the pressure to earn more. This need is the unravelling or might be. What was unnerving, gets dangerous and revolting as she continues to get drugged and fall asleep, allowing a series of old men to do what they want to her, within reason. I don’t like to give up on a film before the end, but I came very very close. As we mercifully get toward the end, Lucy’s curiosity about what happens to her while she’s asleep gets the better of her and she sets up a spy camera. This also turns out to be completely pointless. I’m really not sure what the aim of this is and if you going to watch a film with Emily Browning make it God Help The Girl.



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