April 6, 2017
Showtimes: 6:30 & 8:40 pm
Director: Jocelyn Moorhouse
Cast: Kate Winslet, Judy Davis, Hugo Weaving, Liam Hemsworth
Runtime: 118 minutes
“Kate Winslet as sexy femme fatale with a wicked pair of shears is a lot of fun. As her mum “Mad” Molly, Judy David triumphs.”—James Verniere, Boston Herald
Australian Film Critics Awards: Best Actress, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, Best Screenplay; 11 other wins, 39 nominations.
In the wonderfully odd Australian revenge tale The Dressmaker, Kate Winslet is a wild-card clothier who shows up in her home town to settle a childhood score.
From the opening scene where Winslet haughtily swaggers into view like a character in a spaghetti western, dragging a cigarette and seething “I’m back, you bastards,” as she pulls up into the outback town of Dungatar, The Dressmaker is off to the races.
And what a strange race it turns out to be.
Winslet plays Tilly, who left town many years ago with a dark secret. She arrives home, wielding her sewing machine like a shotgun, and begins taking care of her dotty mother (Judy Davis), who lives in squalor atop the town’s hill.
Among the townspeople with whom she crosses paths are a cross-dressing cop (Hugo Weaving) and a handsome young footballer (Liam Hemsworth). They become part of her plot to discover her past, as she gives many in town a stunning makeover along the way.
Director Jocelyn Moorhouse fashions The Dressmaker as a bizarre little ode to her Australian homeland. The slapstick comedy breaks out very quickly, and so does some very, very black humour. The script (based on Rosalie Ham’s novel), takes a few extra turns rather than coming to a clean stop.
But director Moorhouse gleefully blends laughter and shocks. She works with a scalpel — the characters, the one-liners, and, of course, the costumes are shaped with precision.
Winslet is allowed to flex her seldom-utilized humour muscles, and she’s a barnburner in a fun, juicy role.
Davis, Weaving, and Hemsworth provide welcome support in a cast of outcasts, crackpots, and gossipy fussbudgets.
The Dressmaker offers a wild ride for the audience.