|Kate and her trusty Singer|
I went to see "The Dressmaker" yesterday, despite mediocre reviews and the beautiful weather. As a fashion-possessed WOACA who sewed her way through the 1950s, why wouldn't I want to see even a bodice-ripper starring Kate Winslet and a bunch of '50s frocks?
You need to know this is above all a black comedy. The characters are drawn with very bold strokes. At times the audience knows more than they do, which is less unfortunate than you may think. It allows the viewer to feel smart and in cahoots with the filmmakers. It does nothing to prepare for the twist of an ending. There's romance, pathos and Kate Winslet having a grand time filling out couture-style clothing.
We know little about her character, Tillie, between a hardscrabble childhood in the down-trodden Australian outback and her return as an adult. We know she worked for Vionnet and Balenciaga. For those of us in the know, they are credentials enough. There is a silly scene of the entranced townswomen swanning about in Tillie's creations. That's where I expected a break out in song like "Priscilla, Queen of the Desert". Coincidentally Hugo Weaving, a principal from "Priscilla", also has a major role here. Oh and some of the eye candy is Liam Hemsworth not wearing much.
Though truly not the point of "The Dressmaker"— it's more about retribution, truth and love— there is no doubt about the transformative power of clothes. That surprise ending I mentioned? Skillfully fashioned. "Nuff said.