A college student (Emily Browning) becomes a niche sex worker for a high-end brothel where customers pay to fondle her while she sleeps.
Sleeping Beauty is a 2011 Australian erotic drama film that was written and directed by Julia Leigh. It is her debut as a director. The film stars Emily Browning as a young university student. She takes up a part-time high-paying job with a mysterious group that caters to rich men who like the company of nude sleeping young women. Lucy is required to sleep alongside paying customers and be absolutely submissive to their erotic desires, fulfilling their fantasies by voluntarily entering into physical unconsciousness.
The film is based on influences that include Leigh’s own dream experiences, and the novels The House of the Sleeping Beauties and Memories of My Melancholy Whores by Nobel laureates Yasunari Kawabata and Gabriel Garcia Marquez, respectively.
The film premiered in May at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival as the first Competition entry to be screened. It was the first Australian film In Competition at Cannes since Moulin Rouge! (2001). Sleeping Beauty was released in Australia on 23 June 2011. It premiered in US cinemas on 2 December 2011 on limited release. Overall critical reception of the film has been mixed, rising to some approval through June 2016, after circulation of the film on the festival circuit; audience reception, on the other hand, has been weak (less than a third of a sample of tens of thousands approving