Its also schizophrenic and messy, but thats beside the point.
In the French film (if you saw French and immediately thought, nudity, thumbs up), a newborn princess named Anastasia is cursed by the fairy (witch?) Carabosse (Rosine Favey, Frontier(s)) to die when she hits her sweet 16, "her hand pierced by a yew spindle."
Meanwhile, three good fairies in the room use all their powers to change Anastasias destiny. She wont die shell just fall asleep for 100 years. And have a dream life. And then wake up at the age of 16. Got that? It doesnt matter. Breillat is more about lovely images than lucidity.
And so young Anastasia (newcomer Carla Besnaïnou) loves her alarm clocks and her dictionaries, and harbors an imagination that leans toward the mythological as she travels by train from one quirky character to another. For example, she bowls with bones alongside an ogre covered in boils, immediately after proclaiming, "I don't speak to people covered in boils!" She meets the Snow Queen (Romane Portail), who is decked out like sex incarnate. She choo-choos her way to a midget station agent (not Peter Dinklage reprising his role as The Station Agent). She befriends two creepy albino children. She traverses the snowy countryside on a reindeer.
Then Anastasia wakes up as a teen (Julia Artamonov), experiments with a girl and is plowed by a boy, all in a third act that Hans Christian Andersen certainly didnt have in mind when he penned the original. But sexuality is a staple of Breillats work, which is always daring if not always delightful. Compared to the subject matter of her previous films, The Sleeping Beauty is fairly tame for cant unsee that type of stuff, consult 1976s A Real Young Girl.
Not to be confused with the current Emily Browning film of the same name, this made-for-TV effort is recommended only for foreign-film cineastes interested in the imagery of it all, because it could be argued the plot meanders. Watching her very personal, very adult interpretation of a classic childrens story can be oddly fascinating, even if it you find it a narrative failure. Rod Lott