Based on the novel of the same name by Rosalie Ham comes a revenge comedy like nothing you would have expected.
In the dead of night, a mysterious figure arrives in the small town of Dungatar set in the 1950’s in the Australia outback. We discover that the mysterious figure is a woman named Myrtle Dunnage, a successful dressmaker who now goes by the name of Tilly (played by Kate Winslet). Tilly has arrived in the small town with only a bag and her sewing machine to discover that her mother is still alive and living in deplorable conditions. Known as Mad Molly (Judy Davis), she refuses to believe this stranger is who she says she is and it doesn’t take long before the whole town knows that Tilly is back.
Tilly’s past is shrouded in mystery and she has come back looking for answers, answers that all the towns people seem to have. Piecing together the fragments of her past, Tilly stitches together the most beautiful gowns creating masterpieces for the women to wear to win them over. There is something about makeovers that instantly wins me over, and nothing is more exciting than to see middle of nowhere country bumpkins going from plain floral frocks to couture gowns against the rough western backdrop.
In this deviously hilarious comedy, a small town where the devils themselves may be wearing Prada-like creations, comes one of those hidden gem films that everyone needs to see and I am truly shocked that I have never heard or seen anyone else raving about this film. Kate Winslet shines in her role as Tilly, but each character in the town is so distinct and unique that the film boasts an entire town of memorable characters that come together to create this unique and enjoyable film. The focus and wasted potential is often lost on the minor characters when the spotlight is always shinning on the main characters. There is something about a story that invests in all the characters that gives it so much more depth reminiscent to that of the beloved stories from Roald Dahl. You know the story has this quality when you can remember each character even with only a few seconds of mention. While the character of Mad Molly is sad when looking at her full story from start to finish, Judy Davis brings so much comedy to the film that you can’t help but adore her. You also know you are bound to visually cater to the audience when you bring a Hemsworth into the mix with Liam Hemsworth playing the role of Teddy McSwiney, our small town hunky heartthrob and knight in shinning armour.
The Dressmaker is a wonderfully crafted story with memorable characters, great laughs and just the right amount of bite to it. I truly enjoyed the movie so much that I am eager to also read the novel and perhaps one day add both the film and the book to my library collections.