Sleeping Beauty (14A) * * * * Titillating High Class Drama Explores Sex For Money!

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By ALAN SAMUEL

Serious drama is on tap in Sleeping Beauty the latest drama from EOne Entertainment sure to stir up a ruckus at Silver City Riverport.

Don’t let the title fool you.  There’s nothing Disney-like in the adult oriented Sleeping Beauty, a controversial and effective movie from EOne Entertainment now opening up eyes everywhere.  Not intended for kids, this 2011 drama does in fact centre on a youthful looking student who manages to wind up in a rather unusual profession.

Trying to make ends meet seems hard for Lucy, a pleasant girl with a plethora of problems.  Emily Browning (Sucker Punch) turns in a gutsy performance as a university student busy taking courses during the day while trying to make a living at night.  Not content with waiting tables this upstart begins moonlighting and sooner rather than later gets involved with bar hopping.  Inevitably those bar session leads to romantic interludes with money and drugs the order of the day.

Made in Australia, Sleeping Beauty is a wicked delight.  When it veers off into unchartered waters the ante is raised considerably, especially when young Lucy meets up with a new prospective employer called Clara.  Style and wealth ooze from this woman who is convincingly portrayed by Rachael Blake (Summer).  Clara’s business is pleasuring men and her hook is to throw extravagant parties for well-heeled clients.   Sure, we’ve seen this sort of sexual appetite before but in Sleeping Beauty the performances are solid and the atmosphere quite titillating.

How a woman functions with this double life is well handled by first time film director Julia Leigh who also wrote this eye-opening, jaw dropping movie.  Little romance is on the order form here, instead what you have is a woman selling herself and the men who get pleasure from the interludes. Most of the time, it’s not a pretty sight and rather depressing, despite all the wealth exhibited.

104 minutes into the murky underworld of the high class high stakes sex world is well developed in Sleeping Beauty an unsetting tale of people who use others knowingly and with their approval.  Stark and bold this is one film that will make you appreciate the one your with and frown on others into debauchery no matter how genteel it’s dressed up as.  Tag on a very unusual ending and you have a film full of surprises, good performances and an atmosphere of wealth and power not many of us have privy to.  And maybe that’s a good thing.

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