Part self-discovery story, part family drama, part murder mystery, part romantic comedy and entirely emotional. The Dressmaker is a firework of a movie bearing the hallmark of a truly brilliant Australian classic.
When Tilly Dunnage (Kate Winslet) was a girl, she was sent away from her home town, accused of murdering a boy. Many years later she returns as a fashion designer, set on mending fences with her eccentric mother (Judy Davis), remembering her past, and exacting revenge on the town that made her childhood a nightmare.
Despite the dark thread that anchors the story, it is also romantic and hilarious, with scenes that will have you doubled over in laughter.
Winslet is perfect as Tilly, and her Aussie accent is spot-on. It’s refreshing to see a romance where the actress isn’t half the age of the actor playing her love interest. (In fact, Liam Hemsworth, whose Teddy McSwiney falls for Tilly, is 15 years younger than Winslet). Hugo Weaving as Sergeant Farrat is delightful and uproariously funny.
The Dressmaker is raw and unapologetic, funny as well as very dark: it will leave you cracking up one minute and feeling like you’ve been punched in the gut the next.
Only possible flaw? Hemsworth’s biceps are sometimes very distracting; but who’s complaining?