10 February, 2017

The Dressmaker [DVD]

Adapted from the novel by Rosalie Ham, this Aussie film is set in a dusty, fictional town of Dungatar in the Australian outback. 

It is 1951 and the beautiful and talented Tilly Dunnage (Kate Winslet), who was banished from here as a child,  returns, armed with her sewing machine and haute couture design skills acquired over the years in Paris. 

“I’m back, you bastards” she says, (ostensibly to care for her cantankerous and eccentric old mother) played by Judy Davis, but ends up taking sweet revenge on those who had wronged her. 

While she gets to work, outfitting the local women with fashionable frocks, she tries to find some light on a tragic incident from the past that she can’t quite recall. 

As she manages to reveal the town’s skeletons, we meet a raft of quirky characters from the cross-dressing police sergeant to the hunchbacked-wife-abusing pharmacist, the womanizing councillor and gossiping teacher.

Fellow outcast - the hunky, pure-hearted farmer Teddy (Liam Hemsworth)  lives in a trailer with his mother and mentally challenged brother fancies the at-first reluctant Tilly.  She falls in love with him but sadly he comes to a sorry end…

While the townspeople’s nastiness can be cartoonish and simplistic, with the tone shifting awkwardly at times from jaunty comedy to dark violent drama, there are some scenes that stand out as gems -  and some gorgeous costumes. Can’t say you’ll see another film like this one for a long time. Quite an original.

Directed by: Jocelyn Moorhouse
Starring: Kate Winslet, Liam Hemsworth, Judy Davis, Hugo Weaving.

Reviewed by: Suneeta N, Highland Park Library

Suneeta N particularly enjoys biographies, travel stories and reading authors from around the world. She loves a good discussion and believes that everybody has a story worth telling.

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