The Dressmaker

Based on Rosalie Ham’s novel, ‘The Dressmaker’ has been described as Clint Eastwood’s ‘Unforgiven’ with sewing machines. It’s perhaps not as rough as Clint’s rugged film but it has the same type of charm in terms of using a remote locale to its fullest. Guided by Jocelyn Moorhouse’s astute direction, ‘The Dressmaker’ is a reasonably strong comedy/drama full of tension and finely made attire.

Returning to the small rural town from which she was exiled years before, renowned dressmaker Tilly (Kate Winslet) arrives with vengeance in her heart. Re-connecting with her emotionally disturbed mother Molly (Judy Davis), Tilly aims to right grievous wrongs. Along the way she meets local footballer Teddy (Liam Hemsworth) and flamboyant Sergeant Farrat (Hugo Weaving). Personal dramas soon arise with the slinky seamstress affecting the township in ways it couldn’t have imagined.

‘The Dressmaker’ has a captivating central performance from Winslet. She performs well opposite the equally amazing Davis who infuses genuine humanity in what could have been a one dimensional role. They are the best things about an uneven film. The tale of revenge and the eccentric locals who inhabit the town make for enticing ingredients. Occasionally it works perfectly while others it falls down flat. The problem lies in a script often losing focus with the mix of humour and drama not quite working.

That isn’t to say the look and feel of ‘The Dressmaker’ aren’t evident. The locales and dazzling dresses offer pure eye-candy as does the 1950’s setting. When concentrating on well-worn Western movies tropes, ‘The Dressmaker’ provides great viewing. It just never flies often enough with too many characters vying for attention. The pacing also drags with the story not executed as well as it should have been.

‘The Dressmaker’ is a decent enough movie that doesn’t skimp on the wonderful Australian outback locations or quirky characters. Winslet and Davis are always watchable and the clothes on display are a pleasure to see. More needed to be done on the screenplay to make ‘The Dressmaker’ fully work although it has enough spark to gain attention.

Rating out of 10: 6


No Comments

RSS feed for comments on this post. | TrackBack URI
You can also bookmark this on del.icio.us or check the cosmos