Apr 16, 2014

Review: Sleeping Beauties (1999)

Sleeping Beauties is a 13 minute short film directed by Jamie Babbit who is probably mostly known for But I'm a Cheerleader. I haven't seen it myself but I know it has to do with being a lesbian as does Sleeping Beauties. Babbit has made a couple of other features as well but it looks like she's transitioned into directing television episodes. That's a shame because Sleeping Beauties is pretty unique and I'm guessing that her other movies are as well despite the less than positive critical reception.

This short film takes the story of Sleeping Beauty and turns it upside down. Instead of a prince who arrives to kiss the princess and wake her up, we get two princesses. And why shouldn't we? Really when you think about it, the whole waking up from a kiss is highly inappropriate. The prince and princess don't know each other at all so think of what it would be like to be woken up by a kiss from a total stranger. Sleeping Beauty makes the joke that the prince is actually a date rapist.

So instead of the man and woman we're used to from the fairy tale we get two women. We should be outraged right? Well I guess that's subjective but this definitely isn't a movie for the Westboro Baptist Church.

Sarah Lassez plays Heather who is getting over her previous relationship with Cindy who had decided that she no longer wanted to be in a gay relationship. Heather works in a funeral home as a mortician, preparing dead rock stars to look good for their album covers. Sounds ridiculous, yes? But at one point she prepares the body of Sno Blo who OD'd, played by Rose McGowan. Heather has to deal with Cindy coming back in town even though she isn't over their previous relationship.

It's all really surreal. There are a lot of bright colours like you'd see in a fairy tale but it's all set in modern times. Unlike in fairy tales though, characters do not restrain their raunchy sides, freely talking about sex or peeing in cemeteries.

Sleeping Beauties does well in messing around with the familiar fairy tale tropes. It's funny and makes some good commentary on the prince/princess stores that we were all introduced to as kids. It's easily the type of short film that could be fleshed out to be an entire feature film.


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