Friday, September 30, 2016
A TOWN TRANSFORMED BY
By Tinsel & Tine Editor, Le Anne Lindsay
OVER THE TOP ELEGANT DAY WEAR
I fell in love with the trailer for this film, THE DRESSMAKER (Dir. Jocelyn Moorhouse, based on the novel of the same name by Rosalie Ham) the odd tone and vampy quality sucked me in immediately and so did the first 3/4 of the movie. Then it takes a really hard turn into sadness and black comedy. Sure, I get it, the story's about a prodigal daughter's unwelcome return home, so you anticipate repercussions; still I never expected it to get so dark; was hoping I could recommend it to my younger sister, whose been craving a good romance. Liam Hemsworth plays an appealing Aussie love interest, but... sorry Alyssa, this one's not for you.
Set in 1951, Myrtle, now "Tilly" Dunnage (Kate Winslet) comes home to the small, desolate town of Dungatar Australia. When I see the flat, grayish, dry, wide plains of Australia, it's hard to picture anything but a rattlesnake trying to make a home there. It's like you can put buildings on the land, but they will never truly be a part of the landscape or feel hospitable. Speaking of hospitality, Tilly finds none upon her return home after a 25 year absence, (which seemed more like 30 years, because Winslet is a gorgeous 40 year-old, but she can't pull off 35). Not even her mother "Mad Molly" (Judy Davis) acknowledges that she even had a daughter. The only one with some affinity for her homecoming is the cross dressing Police Sergeant (Hugo Weaving) who practically orgasm over Tilly's clothes, fabrics and accessories.
We begin to learn about the inhabitants of the town, as Tilly, dressed in the best Scottish golf attire, begins to hit balls from the vantage point of her mother's ramshackle bungalow, striking the establishments and homes of each town person who once did her wrong - The hunchbacked pharmacist who used to beat his wife, now also crippled with arthritis; Gertrude (Sarah Snook) a dumpy, store clerk, who used to be a peer of Tilly's and makes an amazing swan transformation into Trudy; a rich Mamma's boy recently home from a city education; the town's leader, Pettyman and his overwrought wife Marigold swilling down nerve tonic; a dowager old school mistress and a few assorted others. We soon learn Tilly was sent away, but not put away, at the age of 10, accused of killing a boy, Mr. & Mrs. Pettyman's son in fact.
Soon, every woman in town is overdressed in Tilly's poisonous purples and limes — no sugar pastels for these gossips. But in proving her worth to these fools, she's created lovelier monsters. She'd be better off simply stabbing them with her scissors. READ MORE Amy on film MTV News
It’s a given that “The Dressmaker” is wildly overdone, and that includes not just the style (by production designer Roger Ford, costume designer Marion Boyce and DP Donald M. McAlpine), but the performances. READ MORE OneGuy'sOpinions.com
The humor is so unmistakably Australian, and the performances (like Kerry Fox’s venomous schoolteacher) so committedly high-pitched, that even if you’re not laughing, you’re in a kind of thrall to the hearty energy of it all. READ MORE Robert Abele LA Times
Bottom line: Judy Davis & Kate Winslet forging a new mother/daughter relationship in spite of themselves is a strong reason to see this movie. Particularly Davis who scene by scene gets less cantankerous, coming slowly back to her senses. And of course, The Dresses are stunning!
T & T's LAMB (movie bloggers association) Score: 3 outta 5
Tinsel & Tine (Reel & Dine): Philly Film, Food & Events Blog