For Reel

The Sleeping Beauty (2010)
March 28, 2011, 11:27 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Catherine Breillat

The Sleeping Beauty, Catherine Breillat’s second updating of a classic fairytale (the first being the satisfyingly morbid Bluebeard), shows Breillat once again divulging in gratuitous nudity before cursing the loathsome phallus. Whereas the boy of our heroine’s dreams is an unattainable charmer, the man in her waking life is a disappointment who, in stealing her virginity, cruelly forces her into grim adulthood. Bluebeard successfully incorporated some interesting ideas about the nature of storytelling and the influence that fairytales have over the young, but The Sleeping Beauty trudges through a frustratingly fractured narrative without a willingness by Breillat to explore any new thematic territory. Admittedly, the film is appealing in parts – a little girl robed in fur riding a doe across frozen terrain is an arresting visual – but Breillat’s dreamscape isn’t involving enough to invest in for the first half of the picture, nor are the sophomoric sexual politics of the second.


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