Sleeping Beauty

December 2nd 2011
  • Drama,
  • Unrated,
  • 102 min,
  • IFC Releasing
  • Cast: Emily Browning, Rachael Blake, Ewen Leslie, Peter Carroll, Chris Haywood, Hugh Keays-Byrne, Bridgette Barrett, Hannah Bella Bowden, Les Chantery, Benita Collings, Michael Dorman, Eden Falk, Anni Finsterer, Mirrah Foulkes, James Fraser, Robin Goldsworthy, Vernon Hayman, Paul He, Amit Kelkar, Sarah Kinsella, Ivy Mak, Tracy Mann, Tammy McIntosh, Stephanie Menere, Henry Nixon, Lauren Orrell, Nathan Page, Kelly Paterniti, Lizzie Schebesta, Natalia Siwek, Justin Smith, Sarah Snook, Pearl Tan, Jamie Timony, Joel Tobeck, Sinisa Vrebac, Hannah Wang, Matthew Whittet, Daniel Webber
  • Director: Julia Leigh
  • Writer: Julia Leigh
  • Producer: Jessica Brentnall
  • Associate Producer: Sasha Burrows
  • Executive Producers: Jamie Hilton, Timothy White
  • Art Direction: Jocelyn Thomas
  • Casting: Nikki Barrett
  • Costume Design: Shareen Beringer
  • D.O.P.: Geoffrey Simpson
  • Editor: Nick Meyers
  • Music: Ben Frost
  • Production Design: Annie Beauchamp
  • Set Decoration: Lisa Thompson


Lucy is a broke university student who drifts into prostitution and finds her niche as a woman who sleeps, drugged, in a ‘Sleeping Beauty chamber’ while men do things to her that she can‘t remember the next morning.

Basic Information

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Filming Locations: Sydney, Australia
  • Production Budget: $10 million
  • Production Companies: Screen Australia
  • Production Schedule: March 2010 - April 2010

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2011 Guide Analysis: "This ain't no Disney fairy tale, this 'Beauty' has been described as a "haunting erotic fairy tale" and subversive exploration of the sex trade industry which rather blatantly hammers home the metaphor of men's objectification of women. A recent synopsis adds that "The first man to visit Lucy venerates her youth and beauty. The second is sadistic. Nonetheless she returns…"

Australian novelist Julia Leigh makes her directorial debut on the project and wrote the rather short 66-page script which made the 2008 Black List and has already garnered a cult following amidst script readers. Shot locally last year on a $10 million budget, Mia Wasikowska was originally announced as the lead but was replaced by Emily Browning ("Sucker Punch," "Lemony Snicket"). The rest of the cast is mostly a good mix of Aussie actors, most notably the hunky and talented Michael Dorman.

There's a curious setup - the men aren't allowed to leave any marks or penetrate her, and like her we also don't get to see what these men do which makes us wonder what in the hell these guys are up to during her 'sleeps'. The character of Lucy will also divide people as from the start she's something of a lost soul whose "moral compass is a little out of whack" according to one review which also claims the character's backstory is frustratingly limited.

Leigh addressed that complaint in an interview where she says "I‘m not a fan of backstory in general and I‘m an enemy of the ‘psychological explanation‘ tied to some event in the past. Instead I like that feeling of the submerged, the ‘tip of the iceberg‘ feeling we get about a character on screen, something latent. Something fascinating.”

Leigh's having a big year with her debut novel "The Hunter" getting a film adaptation with Willem Dafoe due out this year. With this film already completed, it's expected we'll see it make a debut at a film festival sometime later this year as release dates have yet to be set. Let's hope Leigh's direction is as promising as her writing."

Trailers & Clips

Worldwide Release Dates

  • 23 June 2011: Australia
  • 25 August 2011: Kazakhstan, Russia
  • 26 August 2011: Estonia
  • 29 September 2011: Hong Kong
  • 14 October 2011: UK
  • 5 November 2011: Japan
  • 16 November 2011: France