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The Dressmaker: Review

The Dressmaker: Review

Starring: Kate Winslet, Judy Davis, Sarah Snook, Hugo Weaving, Liam Hemsworth, Hayley Magnus (Rated M – 118 min).

High end couture fashion meets the spaghetti western (with complimenting soundtrack) in this endearing but darkly outrageous story of a globally revered seamstress returning to her dusty Australian hometown after being accused of murder many years earlier.

The minute Myrtle ‘Tilly’ Dunnage (Kate Winslet) steps off a blue bus just before dawn. You just know trouble is about to brew. The town itself is full of deranged individuals – some lovable, most are obnoxious. Legendary Judy Davis plays Molly Dunnage either in denial or oblivious to the arrival of Tilly, she claims not to have a daughter but Mad Molly, as the townsfolk call her, seems to remember when nobody is looking.

Tilly begins to change the life and attitude of a few who will actually talk to her by designing clothes for them to wear including bullied wallflower Gertrude (Sarah Snook) who gains instant never before held confidence. The wonderful Hugo Weaving channels his ‘Priscilla Queen of the Desert’ persona as the local law enforcement, a rare friend to Tilly who also wants to try on her entire wardrobe.

An unlikely romance at the core, Tilly falls for the charms of Teddy (Liam Hemsworth) although it doesn’t sit quite right, not just the obvious age difference, the film charges in multiple directions with an unsuspecting twist seemingly never far away. Switching from serious violence and slapstick comedy to emotional drama is only moderately effective.

No stranger to perfecting the Aussie accent crawling through the outback in Holy Smoke (1999) with Harvey Keitel, British Oscar winner Kate Winslet is flawless as a 1950s femme fatale fashionista. A who’s who of national talent in bit parts is always good to see while brilliant cinematography from Central Coast local Don McAlpine marvels. However, The Dressmaker may leave many disillusioned.

Shane A. Bassett

Sydney Unleashed is one of Australia’s premier entertainment publications exploring the latest in lifestyle trends. From Sydney’s finest restaurants, cafes and bars to the hottest in gadgets, products, and home entertainment, Sydney Unleashed is your one-stop lifestyle platform.