With echoes of Alice in Wonderland, Catherine Breillat’s lyrical and thoughtful The Sleeping Beauty is a fantasy-driven journey through a girl’s awakening to sex and love; you don’t have to be a princess to relate. Now this beautiful, enrapturing film is finally arriving in theaters after having been shown at festivals around the world. (It opens in New York on July 8th, other cities in the next weeks.)
Don’t confuse Breillat’s feminist dream with that other Sleeping Beauty, Julia Leigh’s story of a prostitute, which was poorly-received at Cannes this year. And Breillat was ahead of the Hollywood curve in bringing her fairy tale to the screen. (My colleague Anne Thompson has been tracking the race between the dueling Snow White movies in the works.)
Breillat is an original and an artist, and The Sleeping Beauty among her best films. You can watch a new trailer and read my full review, which ran when the film was at Rendez-Vous with French Cinema at Lincoln Center, here.