The Dressmaker Is a truly amazing film that was released with a star studded crew headed up by our protagonist being played by the stunning Kate Winslet. For a full detailed explanation of the film Wikipedia provides a pretty good description. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Dressmaker_(2015_film)
In short though it is play set in the 1950’s about a dressmaker who returns to her small town in Australia after having being cast out as a child for apparently murdering a boy. The key point of the film is finding out what actually happened and then revenge upon the town, which was done in the most epic way (not to disclose too many spoilers).
The 4 most prominent characters in the film are: Myrtle “Tilly” Dunnage our protagonist played exceptionally by Kate Winslet. Molly dunnage, Tilly’s mad mother who gradually regains her sanity, brilliantly depicted by Judy Davis. Teddy McSwiney, the love of our protagonist, played by Liam Hemsworth. Finally Sergeant Haratio Harrat, our self-proclaimed cross-dressing, drug dealing, matador, policeman, amazingly played by Hugo Weaving.
It is strange for a film in that it is a: comedy, romance; revenge fuelled drama and in some areas horror like. It really has a bit of everything. It is almost like a piece of Shakespeare with the diverse range of themes and levels of theatricality; or as I described it slightly less eloquently to my flatmates “it’s like a decade of EastEnders in 2 hours”.
The level of tragedy in some areas brought those with me to tears while other areas had us all in hysterics. That wasn’t all though; the film actually held quite sinister undertones in several areas. First up the mystery behind the “murder”; dull and darkly lit haunting flashbacks permeated the film, in my opinion, to a great effect. There was also the gruesome demise of the shire president.
The Dressmaker highlighted numerous aspects of society at the time. For example the marital rape by the shire president; the indication of domestic violence towards Irma Almanac; the lack of tolerance to those with children outside wedlock in the case of Molly; the intolerance for cross-dressing faced by Sergeant Haratio; the vanity of people and of course the confidence an outfit can give. It was as though the dresses Tilly made were armour. It also displays the key idea that people always want someone to blame even if they can’t prove it. Even if they are wrong.
Tilly is played as a strong independent women. Never, perhaps, has that term better suited anyone. Her opening scene was one of the most “badass” entrances I have ever seen and dramatically laid the tone for the rest of the play. Confidence positively exudes from her. She had faced so much tragedy and adversity and goes on to face more, yet at the end of the film we see her leave the same manner in which she arrived; strong and independent.
There have been quite a few unflattering reviews of this film but I have to say it is easily in my top 5 of 2015. One common thing I picked up on that a lot of people didn’t seem to like is that upon finding out what happened when the boy was “murdered” the film continued for no small period of time after what would have seemed to have been the natural conclusion. I though like what it did, the loss of love showed later in the film allowed her to see clearly what was actually going on, she was awakened to the evil within the community. With that revelation and a little help from her mum she executed her revenge in a dramatic and truly conclusive manner. In short I loved it all.
A few thing I would like to say upon concluding is the outfits worn in the movie are among the best I have ever seen on or off screen; a huge congratulations to costume designer Margot Wilson. In addition the music score for the film set it impeccably; so a congratulations is also due to musician David Hirshfelder.
I would happily recommend this film.