Jane Campion presents SLEEPING BEAUTY, a fascinating depiction of a young woman s reckless decent into a shocking world of erotic desires. Lucy (Emily Browning in a breakthrough performance) is a young university student possessed by a kind of radical passivity, letting coin tosses decide random sexual encounters and enduring her menial jobs with an uncomplaining patience. After answering an ad in the student newspaper for a lingerie waitress, Lucy is secretly initiated into the job of a Sleeping Beauty, for which she is sedated and given in absolute submission to her clients. As this unnerving experience begins to bleed into her daily life, Lucy develops the courage to break the spell and discover what happens to her while she sleeps. First-time director Julia Leigh creates a bold cinematic vision with her shocking retelling of the classic myth that poses its heroine as a rarified sex-worker confronting ideas of feminine sexuality with bravado and precision.
Hypnotic…A work of serious rigor and intelligent provocation. --Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune
I found it gorgeous, opaque and disturbing in roughly equal portions, but it was a riveting experience all the way through. --Andrew O'Hehir, Salon.com