Judy Davis, as ‘Mad Molly’, almost, at first funnily then smartly, steals the movie right from under everyone’s noses but then gorgeous Liam Hemsworth lets all his masculinity, and bare chest, out and noses are forgotten. The only one who can upstage them, and anyone else on screen, is Kate Winslet, Mad Molly’s daughter, arriving in this isolated town with the first words heard being “I’m back you bastards!”

“The Dressmaker” takes place in 1951 and is constantly swinging back and forth from comedy to drama to satire to melodrama, a tale of revenge, murder, paternity, brutality just as Kate Winslet is Susan Hayward from “Back Street” in one scene and then within another scene she is both Mary Astor from ‘The Maltese Falcon” to Rita Hayworth in Gilda and that’s only in the first 10 minutes of the film.

There doesn’t seem to be a ‘normal’ person in Dungater from the local policeman who is a secret course dresser, played by Hugo Weaving, to the town councilor, played by Shane Bourne, who goes to any woman he can get but has a deeper secret. Oh and talking about women this one town has a representation of every woman you can think of with most types of men, too.

The story starts off as a simple one with Tilly, Kate Winslet, having been exiled from the town 25 years previously when a schoolmate, Stewart Pettyman, played by Rory Potter, the son of Evan Pettyman, played by Shane Bourne and Marigold Pettyman, played by Alison Whyte, when he dies with a cracked head and she is the only one to witness it.  Tilly doesn’t remember anything about what happened and after spending the years traveling to Spain, England, France and becoming a dressmaker she returns to take care of her mother and try to find out what happened that day.

“The Dressmaker” is all over the place with a lot of evil and a lot of laughs competing, especially in the second half, but many fine performances and very easy to follow with all that is going on though occasionally the Australian outback accent might be a little hard to understand.

There is a scene worth the price of admission alone where Davis, Winslet and Hemsworth are in a movie house watching Gloria Swanson in “Sunset Boulevard” and you will never be able to watch that film without hearing Davis’s comments in your head.

In many ways “The Dressmaker” is like one of those films ‘they don’t make anymore’ like they did in the 1950s but it will definitely be seen as a guilty pleasure, as I did, and enjoyed every minute but not admit it!


The dressmaker movie trailer



Posted September 30, 2016 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, FILM REVIEWS, Uncategorized

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