The Dressmaker

The Dressmaker


Kate Winslet is a revenge-seeking femme fatale in this period comedy-thriller adaptation of Rosalie Ham’s novel. Glamorous Tilly (Winslet) returns to her small hometown in rural Australia to pay back those who wronged her, armed with a sewing machine and haute couture style. Co-stars Liam Hemsworth, Hugo Weaving and Judy Davis.... More

Tilly Dunnage (Winslet) makes a surprise return to her tiny hometown of Dungatar to look after her ailing mother (Davis). It doesn't take long for the glamorous, single globetrotter to set dusty small town tongues wagging, and old resentments to present themselves. As Tilly takes on the foes of her past, there are frocks to be made, and a local hunk (Hemsworth) to flirt with... and maybe a little more. Hide

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Flicks Review

Old-fashioned in both setting and tone, The Dressmaker is certain to appeal to the older arthouse set, though unlikely to win anyone else over. Ostensibly a revenge-filled black comedy, though fairly toothless, it’s also an opportunity for Kate Winslet to revel in the role of creative, cosmopolitan (and curvy) protagonist Tilly Dunnage as she wreaks havoc on her small country hometown with couture and culture-challenging behaviour ill-befitting stuffy 1950s Australia.... More

Alongside Winslet are fellow actors of repute - Judy Davis, Hugo Weaving, Sarah Snook and Liam (yes, appearing shirtless) Hemsworth among them. But despite the thespian talent on screen, the best intentions in forging cheeky farce, and a willingness to follow Rosalie Ham’s novel in occasionally surprising narrative directions, The Dressmaker is let down by a sense of sterility. Ironically for a film about a couturier, it’s hard to escape the overwhelming feeling of watching a TV costume drama.

Winslet and Weaving offer the most nuanced performances, the two castmates able to inhabit initially one-dimensional characters and breathe more life into them as the film unfolds. For Winslet that takes the form of revealing a human heart, capable of both yearning and frailty underneath her intentionally provocative exterior. To Weaving’s credit, he’s able to do more with his supporting role as a cross-dressing cop than just elicit sniggers. While the film’s on his side, though, it plays his fondness for frocks in a manner that is condescendingly comical, another example of The Dressmaker being mired in the past.

For some, The Dressmaker’s brand of comedy will be a warm reminder of films gone by. But as it falls far short of classic status, its throwback elements offer more in the way of irritating limitations than timelessness.Hide

The Peoples' Reviews

Average ratings from 18 ratings, 10 reviews
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BY Bandy63 nobody

Quirky, funny & so Australian. So many great Aussie actors, dresses were lovely, a time when women looked elegant & beautifully dressed. A delight to watch when so many movies are all doom & gloom! Yes a bit shallow in the storyline, but who cares, it is not that type of movie. Reminiscent of
Murial's Weddind, Strickly Ballroom, but better. Do yourself a favour & see it! Support the locally made movies!

BY Gaspardation superstar

It's like watching a picture of Australia unfolding itself in front of you. Rich in various elements, although shallow in subject.

BY Mel superstar

This wish-fulfilment/revenge fantasy is highly enjoyable, thanks in large part to an entertaining supporting cast of quirky characters. A great, well told story with some delightfully unexpected moments of slapstick (a wedding-dress-gone-wrong chase sequence is a particular highlight) and wince-inducing violence, that make for a darkly funny and satisfying film.

BY Deb superstar

I need to read more reviews before I pick a movie! This was a really uneven story that was stitched together by some nice clothes.

BY Imagin8n nobody

Loved this unashamed chick flick. Yes, a bit cartoonish at times, but an enchanting avenue of escapism. Sure Kate was great. The age difference between Winslett and Snook was hard to disguise, although supposedly their characters were the same age. Overall an enjoyable ride along this meandering tale.

Showing 5 of 10 reviews. See all reviews

The Press Reviews

60% of critics recommend.
Rotten Tomatoes Score. More reviews on Rotten Tomatoes

  • Boasts enough manic energy and straight-up weirdness to keep you entertained before overstaying its welcome in the final act. Full Review

  • It’s surprising how well The Dressmaker coheres, albeit more along narrative lines than tonal ones. Full Review

  • The film’s major blunder – it’s got plenty of competition – is mistaking Kate Winslet for Rita Hayworth. Full Review

  • A loud, batty, fancy-frocked, sashed-and-stockinged revenge story pitched somewhere between an outback period piece and a Wile E Coyote cartoon. Full Review

  • A hodgepodge of comic melodrama, more panto than pathos. Full Review

  • If Moorhouse's film sometimes falls out of step, then it at least has the self-belief to go out in a blaze of glory. Full Review

  • In addition to the inspired direction of Jocelyn Moorhouse, The Dressmaker draws ably on the united effort of an appreciably committed cast. Full Review

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