8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Arty but good,
This review is from: Sleeping Beauty [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
A "quietly reckless" university student joins a service that offers its clients alternative kinky experiences. Eventually she takes on the job of sleeping while the clients spend time with her.
It's a very curious Australian art film that tells its "story" in an unconventional, deliberately flat and stately way. Do not expect dramatic fireworks or even much of a plot. Think Eyes Wide Shut directed by David Lynch. And if you're only watching it for sexual kicks then I recommend using your imagination with the Google search box instead. The movie is a little dirty, and it earns its eighteen certificate, but it's not a parade of top quality filth. It's probably also worth pointing out that it was written and directed by a woman so it's more erotic stories than perving at lingerie models.
Although the pace is a little slow I trusted that it was going somewhere interesting so I had zero problems that it wasn't zipping along. And I say this as someone with little patience for slow paced movies and even less for slow art movies. For me to find it compelling is against the odds of past experience.
There are a lot of oblique, obscure and unexplained moments and scenes throughout the whole film. I thought the blanks were easy to fill in for myself. And I don't believe the makers have definitive answers or explanations anyway as to why or what had happened. Whatever I decided for myself was the right answer. It might frustrate people who want everything spelled out and explained. I'm sure there are more than a few viewers who are totally mystified by the Birdman relationship.*
Visually the movie is a little bland as it was mostly shot in masters only. This means that whole scenes were filmed in one fairly static unbroken long shot without any editing. Which was okay and never boring, although the film wouldn't have been any less arty if they had done a bit more cutting between shots to make it more visually enjoyable.
***SPOILER IN THE NEXT PARAGRAPH***
The "plot" of her becoming assertive and trying to find out what was happening to her when asleep only turned up in the last ten minutes. It had an undramatic and mundane ending to that section. And for the whole movie as it ended there, even though the story hadn't really reached a climax or a destination. Unless her at last feeling an emotion that broke through her reserve can be considered the climax to all that had gone before? To me the story hadn't ended and the movie should have continued.
I would say it was a very good art film though it could have been better if it had a bit more conventional drama to it and a better ending. I really liked the film while watching it but the fairly pointless, indifferent and inconclusive climax was unfortunate, and makes me think less of it overall.
The title is terrible as it's already been claimed. All they've done is made the movie harder to find as it will forever be lost behind the Disney film.
Also don't be put off by the Jane "The Piano" Campion connections like I was. Her name is on the advertising but I couldn't find her on the credits so she doesn't seem to have any substantial connection to the movie itself.
* My explanation is that she truly loved him, even though he was a clapped out sickly alcoholic. And that is all there is to it. Nothing more complicated than that. And the various things they said to each other were just jokes.