Director Jocelyn Moorhouse
Cast Kate Winslet, Judy Davis, Liam Hemsworth and Hugo Weaving
Rating 13
Genre Comedy/Drama
Running Time 1 Hour 58 Min.

The Dressmaker is one of those films that will make you laugh, cry and is just ridiculously enjoyable. Based on the novel by Rosalie Ham, The Dressmaker sees Kate Winslet in the lead role of Myrtle “Tilly” Dunnage. The story takes place in a small, fictional town of Gatang in the Australian outback in the 1950s.

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Winslet’s performance as the sassy, truth-seeking (and possibly cursed) seamstress is satisfying enough, but nothing spectacular. One thing is for sure though, she was born to fill out these beautifully designed costumes. Winslet could’ve easily blended away into the vast Australian background or disappeared behind the magnificently designed costumes, but she holds her own. She was able to portray a funny, yet stubborn, independent and well-travelled dressmaker, while at the same time adequately capturing someone who is lost. She effortlessly pulls-off an Australian accent and completely transforms into the tantalising Tilly Dunnage.

Judy Davis as “Mad” Molly Dunnage was the thing dream roles are made of. She was so good as the mad, (seemingly) mean Molly who lives in seclusion and disgusting circumstances. She’s utterly hilarious at times and at other times she was able to pull strong emotions from you.

Liam Hemsworth isn’t terrible, but it’s a bit disappointing that Teddy McSwiney was at times just another hot guy saving a damsel in distress. That being said, the romantic moments between him and Winslet are executed sweetly and tastefully and the pair end up making an attractive couple on-screen.

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Hugo Weaving is absolutely brilliant in his portrayal of the flamboyant Sergeant Horatio Farrat. He has a comedic confidence that you can’t teach anyone, but that is only mastered by someone as dedicated to his craft as Weaving.

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The costumes and the makeup are like two characters on their own. Each character is transported back in time to the 1950s and they all look extremely accurate.

The movie hilariously captures our obsession with appearances, showing many different transformations and character developments throughout. The story, at its core, revolves around self-discovery, vanity and indulgence. Tilly tries to open the minds of these small-minded people through her dazzling dresses, but old (and mean) habits die hard.

You could also view The Dressmaker as a type of melodramatic revenge comedy as Tilly proclaims “I’m back, you bastards” as soon as she steps off of the train in the opening moments of the movie. This statement sets her mood and attitude and we are immediately prepared that no one’s going to be overly excited to see Tilly return. She’s here with her sewing machine with a mission.

This melodrama is a custom made-to-fit kind of movie and won’t impress everyone. Ultimately, the tragic comedy will leave you either feeling like you’ve come undone or you’ll feel empowered. Be prepared to sit for long as well – the movie has an 2 hour running time, but if you’re enjoying it you won’t notice. If you’re not loving it you will walk out.

The Dressmaker Review
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