Review: The Dressmaker

Kate Winslet in The Dressmaker

Since 2015, when it was released, I’ve waited to see The Dressmaker. It had everything. A female director (Jocelyn Moorhouse). It’s based on a novel by a female writer (Rosalie Ham). It stars Kate Winslet and the wonderful Judy Davis.

Judy Davis in The Dressmaker
Judy Davis as Molly Dunnage, Tilly’s mother

I knew the story was about “glamorous woman returns to her small town in rural Australia. With her sewing machine and haute couture style, she transforms the women and exacts sweet revenge on those who did her wrong.”

What I found surprised me. I don’t know what I expected. Maybe that it would be more serious?

What I didn’t realize was that the small town was a festering swamp of aberrance, perversion, lying, cheating, and petty gossip. That description does not include Sergeant Farrat (Hugo Weaving), a cross-dressing queen of the highest order, unless I add cowardice to the list of sins in the small town.

Liam Hemsworth and Kate Winslet in The Dressmaker
Teddy and Tilly K-I-S-S-I-N-G. Well, almost.

Oh, and Teddy (Liam Hemsworth), who somehow emerged godlike from the DNA pool in his sad family.

The townspeople were hilarious and off the rails – in a demeaning way – and deserved the revenge Tilly (Winslet) took on them. Perhaps that’s why they were so ridiculous – so we wouldn’t feel sorry for them when Tilly got even.

Tilly returned home to figure out what really happened when she was 10 years old and accused of killing one of her classmates. Everyone in the town thought she was guilty.

When she returns she finds her mother a drunken wreck. As she carries out her search for the truth, she rehabilitates her mother and makes beautiful garments for the miserably dressed residents of the town. She falls for Teddy (who wouldn’t?) and learns something important from his mentally challenged brother Barney (Gyton Grantley).

The ending is both tragic and triumphant. Have you seen this film? What did you think of it?

You can find The Dressmaker on Amazon video.

6 thoughts on “Review: The Dressmaker”

  1. Tragic and triumphant—I like the expressive words you use in this review! I’d go see it in a minute. It’s cast is exceptional, especially Kate Winslet, who I consider my favorite female actor!

  2. Ah, the magnificent Judy Davis, as irritated wife of DH in ‘Kangaroo’, heartbroken, courageous mum in ‘High Tide’, appearing as boistrous writer George Sand ~’Impromptu’ , in love with the Polish darling composer… oh, almost forgot..’My Brilliant Career’, Australian station hopeful, determined…inspired bravery… always something of a steely will and a sense of lift!

  3. Just watched this on Amazon Prime and its definitely worth it.

    Does anyone know what happened to Barney in the end?

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