Viewing your Watchlist and recommended content requires Javascript

  • 18
  • Drama
  • 2011

Sleeping Beauty

Sleeping Beauty


A young univeristy student (Ghost Ship's Emily Browning) is drawn into a mysterious underworld of scraggy old men who want to watch you sleep naked


Emily Browning (Ghost Ship, Sucker Punch) gives the best performance of her career so far as an emotionally introverted but physically exposed character who places her body in the care of various authority figures (doctors doing some sort of medical trial, a madame type in a sex-mansion) in exchange for money.

Outwardly, she remains impassively unfazed by the majority of these physical impositions. Perhaps she doesn't care, and has achieved a genuine separation between what happens to her body and her sense of self. Perhaps she has little self-esteem and believes on some level that she deserves to be physically degraded. Or perhaps she enjoys the degradation, the abandonment and danger, the implicit sense of trust blended with abasement.

All of these are interesting psychologies to explore; it's a shame Sleeping Beauty kind of leaves them hanging. For sure, it's great when filmmakers leave us to make our own minds up, but here, we're not even given very much to make our minds up about. Sleeping Beauty is a rather chilly, bone-china-pretty, closed-off film, that disdains its audience as voyeurs rather than inviting them in. It reminds me of erotic Japonesque porcelain - frank, yet remote.

Cast & Connections

  • Actor: Emily Browning

In a nutshell

A strange, lyrical film, Sleeping Beauty slips away like a half-remembered dream and is perhaps ultimately of as much consequence

by Catherine Bray

Latest from Film4...

  • Film4


    AnnaLynne McCord stars as a teenager with an unhealthy fascination with gore and surgery.

  • Film4

    100 Bloody Acres

    A gloriously gory, side-splittingly funny horror from Down Under.

  • Film4

    FilmFear on Film4

    This Halloween, Film4 becomes FilmFear. Join us for seven nights of petrifying premieres and classics from the crypt.

  • Film4

    Black Mountain Poets on Film4

    Alice Lowe and Dolly Wells star in writer-director Jamie Adams' hilarious improvised comedy-drama

  • Channel 4 Blog

    TIFF 2016: Top Ten Editor Michael Leader runs through ten standouts from the Toronto International Film Festival...   The Oath I'd already seen three of the four Film4-backed films screening in Toronto (inc

  • Channel 4 Blog

    Baltasar Kormakur on The Oath

    As his Film4-backed Icelandic thriller The Oath premieres in Toronto, director/writer/actor Baltasar Kormakur speaks with editor Michael Leader about making films in Hollywood, returning to

Register with

Personalise your Film4 experience

  • Set film reminders
  • Build your watchlist
  • Get film suggestions

or Register