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A Reel Life film section

Issue: Summer 2015-6

The Dressmaker (2015) movie review

Seamstress Showdown

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movie poster, The Dressmaker, Festivale film review; 220x326

Movie poster, The Dressmaker
Revenge is Back in Fashion

A film about love, revenge and haute couture.

When Tilly (Kate Winslet) returns to her childhood home in a small town in rural Australia, lives are changed forever. Which is just what she intended.

She came to a dusty, isolated town on the Pioneer bus, dressed in haute couture, elegant, with an attitude and a Singer sewing machine.

As the story unfolds we discover that this is the story of the black sheep who was sent from the town in disgrace. Now Tilly is back to care for her mother "Mad Molly" (Judy Davis), and to discover the truth about her own past.

Director and co-scripter Jocelyn Moorhouse described the film as "Unforgiven (1992) with a sewing machine". Set in 1951, The Dressmaker has characters who could easily be played as charicatures, but fortunately the filmmakers push the boundaries, but leave the inhabitants of this world real.

Hugo Weaving, who may be known best for his role in Lord of the Rings steals the show. He plays the local police officer with unashamed, but carefully sensitive panache. He is a delight.

The romantic leads are satisfyingly worthy and attractive. Judy Davis plays the mad mother with gusto and a terrible hair cut. The supporting cast throw themselves into their roles, obviously enjoying a past era when ladies wore good frocks and gloves to watch a country football match.

The Dressmaker is at once a story of revenge served cold, and rediscovering love. It entertains and it moves us to wish the best for the characters. And it has amazing frocks. What more could you want? Recommended.

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by Ali Kayn
Australian release 25 October 2015. Viewed at Cinema Nova, Carlton.
For credits and official site details, see below
Search Festivale for more work by the film-makers below.
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Just the facts:

Title: The Dressmaker (2015)
Written by: Rosalie Ham (novel), P. J. Hogan and Jocelyn Moorhouse (screenplay)
Directed by: Jocelyn Moorhouse
Running time: 118 mins

The Players: Kate Winslet, Judy Davis, Hugo Weaving, Liam Hemsworth

Official website:
IMDb entry

Cinema Nova

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