Friday, April 29, 2011

My Review: The Sleeping Beauty

Last night I went to the Minneapolis/ St. Paul International Film Festival and the film that I chose to see was Catherine Breillat's The Sleeping Beauty. It was not at all like I thought it would be. This film is very loosely based on the Sleeping Beauty story. It is about a princess named Anastasia who has a curse put on her by a witch. The curse is that she will die at the age of 16 when she pricks her finger. Luckily for her, these three good witches decide to change the spell. Instead they have her prick her finger at the age of 6 and sleep for 100 years, after which she will wake up a 16 year old. This film could have been two separate films. The first half is about young Anastasia who wanders around her dream world. There she encounters a family with an older boy named Peter. After he runs off with the Snow Queen, Anastasia goes off looking for him, encountering an albino prince and princess, a band of gypsys that includes a knife-wielding little girl, and a woman in a teepee on the way. Instead of finding him, though, she wakes up after eating some poisonous berries. Then the last part of the movie is her at age 16 living in modern times. It is here that she meets Johann, who is Peter's great great grandson, and also an older version of the gypsy girl from her dream. She and Johann fall in love, but Anastasia thinks that they are too young to have sex. One of my favorite parts from the film was when they played a little game where each day he got to undo a few more buttons from the back of her dress (seven one day, fifteen the next...). There was something pretty sexy about the whole thing. Then, Anastasia is seduced by the gypsy girl, which makes her decide that she is ready to sleep with Johann. You can't have a Catherine Breillat film without some sex. This film is actually quite tame in regards to sex in comparison to other films of hers that I have seen.
One complaint that I have about this film is that you can tell it is pretty low budget. That's not necessarily a bad thing, I just wish there were more fantastical elements to the dream world, especially with the parts involving the Snow Queen. I also wish that we could have seen more of the witches from the beginning. You only see them until she enters her dream world, and then never again. I'm kind have mixed feelings about this movie. While there were parts that I liked, I just thought that the ending didn't really mix with the beginning at all. They were just too separate for me. My rating: 6/10

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