"“To coincide with the films erotic nature, was an intensity that made the feature quite difficult to watch at times…”"

Well, it’s not Disney that’s for sure. In fact, Julia Leigh’s erotic adaptation of the original fairytale Sleeping Beauty, couldn’t be more different.

Set in Australia, we follow the story of University student Lucy (Emily Browning), whom, through her own questionable choice, becomes embroiled in the dark, mysterious world of prostitution.

Struggling for rent, Lucy could do with making some extra money on the side, and through a seemingly logical offer by an arcane woman named Clara (Rachael Blake), Lucy becomes a scantily-clad silver server – supplying to the needs of upper class, elderly men whom require the services of half-nude, attractive women to serve them dinner.

However, in order to make more money to afford the new illustrious apartment Lucy has required, she seeks a further position within the trade, and reluctantly agrees to take tranquilising drugs and fall completely unconscious, and then allow the elderly men to do what they like with her naked body (aside from penetration), in complete privacy. Despite waking unclear of what had happened to her whilst sound asleep, she is determined to discover what exactly goes on once her eyes are closed.

To coincide with the films erotic nature, was an intensity that made the feature quite difficult to watch at times. Once the aged men had Lucy to themselves, it felt almost voyeuristic, as we could see them perform acts they believed to be completely confidential. However, despite the severity of such scenes, the film managed to maintain dignified and didn’t seem too sordid.

The highlight to the production was the performance of Browning. She seemed almost made for the part, as her petite figure and pale skin, not too mention her striking beauty, gave her an innocence that allowed for her to stand out from the other women also in the profession. Rumour has it she replaced Mia Wasikowska for the role, and if so, that could well prove to be a certain touch of fate for Leigh.

The film, which was quite dull at times, survived on the character of Lucy. Her complexity made her very difficult to comprehend. Seemingly a nymphomaniac, it was hard to figure out if she wanted to be the person she became, or if she despised it. I could watch the film countless times again and still feel I hadn’t worked her out.

I did find the film quite tedious at times, and it left too many aspects unexplained, such as Lucy’s anomalous relationship with her dying friend Birdmann (Ewan Leslie). Also, they didn’t include the character King Stefan from the original story – what’s that all about?!

It’s a thought-provoking feature with many positive aspects, although ultimately its insipidness lets it down. And if the films tagline “What happens when she sleeps…” interests you – I’d think again, as you probably wouldn’t want to know.