by Rob Boylan
Sleeping Beauty caused quite a stir at Cannes earlier this year, though it was eclipsed by a certain director and his odd sentence that he couldn't get out of.
It stars Emily Browning (Lemony Snicket, The Uninvited) as Lucy, a young, beautiful student trying to work her way through university as a medical testing guinea pig until she replies to a discreet ad placed in a newspaper. The job is basically for a walking sex mannequin, serving brandy and wine to a dinner party of very well off old men, which then leads to something else entirely.
It is a stark, uncompromising film that dares you to go ahead and like it. It doesn't make anything easy for the viewer, though. It runs a little bit of a rope-a-dope game, trading on the fact that its young star, who only a few years ago was starring in films like Lemony Snicket, is quite nude and vulnerable throughout the film. But this is part of the dare to like the film in fact, not an invitation for slow motion.
Is it worth a watch? Certainly, yes. It comes with a high pedigree, having been produced by Jane Campion, and has the potential to be a film that people should have an opinion on, like The Girlfriend Experience or The Tree of Life. Potential like or dislike shouldn't be the motive to see it. Sure opinion should be.
If I had to place a bet on it, I'd say this won't pick up the kind of buzz it'll need to find it's way to Orlando cinemas, so this might be the only way to see it.