First of all, movie posts seem popular, so I will try to increase those. This is my first effort to do so, bear with me.
Sleeping Beauty is my favorite Disney Princess movie. Always has been. I don’t know why, but I think it had something to do with the cake propped up by a broom, the cutest prince, the creepiest of the evil witches that turned into that badass dragon, and Aurora’s voice not being screechingly annoying or inducing the urge to writhe as Snow White’s always did (seriously, ask my mom, I used to fast forward through the part where she sang into the well.)
So when I was living in NYC and reading enough magazines and movie blogs to drown in, I was insanely pumped to discover the ads for this movie, Sleeping Beauty. I am going to start you off with the trailer so that you will understand my following sentiment more thoroughly:
So there are so many things to address as to why I was dying to see this movie. But first, I’m going to tell you a tiny bit about myself. I am horror and the eerie obsessed. In my rare spare reading time, you are most likely to catch me reading Steven King or Chuck Palahniuk, the author of Fight Club. I went to college to become a journalist and quickly discovered it is not what I wanted it to be. While I have largely changed to media design as a career-path, writing is still my first love.
Clearly, as journalism is out, becoming an author has filled that dream’s hole. I want to write horror, and I tell people I would like the be the female-version of Stephen King, not in fame or wealth so much as quality. His style of universes that encounter each other and fictional places tied to reality are deeply intricate, as is his character development.
Recently, I came across something I’ve written in one of a million notebooks I scribble things in, “Plan like King, surprise like Palahniuk.” Something I must remember to live by. That being said, when I saw that trailer and read a description for that movie, all I could think was “THIS IS WHAT I SHOULD BE WRITING.” This kind of deeply dark re-imagining of something everyone knows so well is exactly what strikes a nerve with me. You know it’s going to turn the story on it’s head and warp it and ruin it, and that’s exactly why I want to see it.
So, while I wish I had thought of and written that idea, there are other reasons I had to see this movie. That eerie quality is unmistakable in that trailer. The mystery of where this could go, how disturbing that idea could be made (because let’s face it, it is kind of a necrophilia version of a fairytale,) and those strikingly beautiful shots. This trailer top to bottom screams watch me. The colors remind me of Sophia Coppola, very Marie Antoinette, of pale turquoises and blues and soft pinks. That typeface is so bold and powerful and makes you think this movie is going to be definitively “artistic.” And that shot of her asleep in the bed with the title, just. perfect.
While I wanted to see it in theaters, I unfortunately never got around to it in my crazy New York life. Last week, Netflix put it up streaming online. Now, from here on, I will SPOIL the movie, SO DON’T READ ANY FURTHER IF YOU HATE THAT!!! SPOILER!
Emily Browning plays a young college student who clearly struggles for money working multiple jobs and suffers from some strange social tendencies, like sleeping with strangers on a bet. When she gets the opportunity to work for high wages as a partially nude server for fancy dinner parties, and considering her physical self-deprication day-to-day, it is worth it to her. At the same time she maintains an asexual relationship with a dying man that it seems she is deeply in love with, who eventually does die, further breaking down her world.
Eventually, an “opportunity for advancement” comes along which involves being sedated to complete unconsciousness and then left for god-only-knows what with only the assurance she won’t be “penetrated.” Then, we are left to see the kind of things that the men do with her (I warn you, the old man genitalia was unsettling at best.) Eventually, she becomes curious what is happening to her and tries to video tape the event, but on this particular occasion, the man who is paying for this is really paying for his own suicide. He too takes the sedative, much more of it, and never wakes up. When the woman who hired her comes in, he is dead and she cannot wake our Sleeping Beauty. She begins to panic and climbs on top of her, giving her CPR until she wakens, or better yet, the kiss that brings her back to life. Our beauty wakes up, sees the dead old man beside her and begins to sob uncontrollably. The movie ends with a very Paranormal Activity style shot from her camera of the two of them lying dead in bed together all night.
All in all, I was extremely pleased with the film. It left some questions throughout, but for the most part it was the dark, beautiful and disturbing film I expected. You relate to her and you feel her pain, but at the same time you are left wondering why she keeps going back to this place, much as you wonder why Aurora can’t resist that damn prickly spinning wheel. The witch who turns her is also her prince that saves her in this scenario, which is particularly interesting and strange. And instead of a wedding, she’s greeted with death and tears. The parallels to the fairy tale are of course there, but it naturally deviates to create something much more, something tragic and at moments, something visually breathtaking. I recommend it highly for those of you who match the description of myself above. I will be mulling over it and wrapping my head around it for weeks to come.