The Complexity in the Dressmaker



I’m not a fan of Australian films or shows, fitting in with the typical locals wanting something unfamiliar. So I was surprised that The Dressmaker became my new favourite movie. Maybe it’s because of Kate Winslet or Hugo Weaving…no, it’s pretty much because of them. They stole the show.

There was Liam Hemsworth of course. Although he isn’t one of my favourite actors, his performance was brilliant and showed that he was more than a love interest.

Now back to The Dressmaker. It’s based on an Australian novel by Rosalie Ham (I’m going to read it soon). The story centres on professional seamstress Tilly (Kate Winslet) returning to her childhood hometown to take care of her mad mother Molly (Judy Davis) and…set her revenge into motion.

You see Tilly had a horrible childhood, tormented by other kids and shockingly adults even her teacher. She ended up being sent away after she was accused of murdering her bully. Years later, Tilly comes back and executes her revenge by having the town in the palm of her hand through her exquisite clothes and her promise of culture.

However, things start to go downhill and Tilly goes through twists and turns.



The trailer made the film sound/look like a chick flick. It’s really not one. It reminds me of Gone Girl, but period. The film has elements of mystery and thriller including suspense and plot twists. Winslet portrays Tilly not only as a femme fatale but also a detective solving her own case – she doesn’t remember the murder. She’s also a broken person, still capable of feeling emotions and understanding others. This complexity made moments between Tilly and her mother as well as her inner child or lost innocence manifesting at times deeply touching.

Unlike a lot of revenge stories, Tilly doesn’t give up on her ulterior motive. Not even after her epiphany and series of unfortunate events involving her love interest Teddy (Hemsworth) and mother. Tilly really hates the townspeople. And that’s what makes her interesting (like Gone Girl‘s Amy).

The romance fitted in well with the main plot, but I was more interested in Tilly’s character and revenge. Additionally the costumes were amazing, luring me in.

A well plotted film, The Dressmaker is a must-see. Now I can recommend an Aussie movie other than Strictly Ballroom.


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