From VIFF '10 Reviews: Catherine Breillat's 'Sleeping Beauty,' 'Mysteries Of Lisbon' & 'The Autobiography Of Nicolae Ceasusescu':
Catherine Breillat is a filmmaker with enough talent and arthouse clout to get excited for every title, but "The Sleeping Beauty," now her second foray in to fairytale revisionism (courtesy of Charles Perrault's original incarnations) after her last film, "Bluebeard," is straining to hold any interest in the eyes of this writer. While impressed with the shocking, provocative and sexually frank "Fat Girl," one wonders exactly what she's up to with these films, and even if her heart is in it.
Dull, lifeless and nothing short of irritating in its pacing (the two films reviewed above breezed by compared to this, even with a brief 82-minute run time), there's really nothing to latch on to here, not even a titillating sex scene, though Breillat attempts several. Things looked bad right from the opening, when three beautiful, naked fairies appear a little late after the birth of Anastasia, thus resulting in her curse. She will die at 16. Using some bullshit unexplained wand power -- which looks laughingly bad, like CGI from the mid-'90s -- the fairies ward off the curse, but the girl must sleep for 100 years. Whereas "Bluebeard" (a film that is better than this, but still left me cold) has the narrative conceit of two young sisters interpreting their version of the story as they read it in an attic, here were just thrown in to a boring, lazy romp through the titular character's dreams until she wakes up and learns of love and sexuality. Hardly any of it works. So what's next? Catherine Breillat's "Little Red Riding Hood." No, "Cinderella"...oh, how about "Puss in Boots"? Hopefully not. Wake us up when she does something interesting again.
Alas, pretty much all of the reviews are similar to this one so far. When the high point for the reviewers is the female nudity--again referenced in more than one review--I know I am not in the target audience.
I am so much more excited about The King's Speech myself. I'm hoping it gets a local release soon in my hometown.
Makes me want to pull out my DVD of Bertie and Elizabeth and watch it again. I'm hoping this one doesn't go as Hollywood as Young Victoria did. Although I thoroughly enjoyed that one--never doubt that--I still prefer Victoria and Albert. Oh, really, I love them all because they are in my wheelhouse. The trailer has several cliches but the actors are so good and overcoming them that I am feeling very, very forgiving. But I also am enjoying BBC/Mastrpiece Theatre's new Sherlock, too, which I didn't expect.