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.
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.
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.