I went to see The Dressmaker having heard Kate Winslet say that she had fun making this film with Liam Hemsworth and I can really see why she said that.
If the opening line, "I am back you bastards" is anything to go by you can understand that you are in for a few surprises and a few laughs.
This film is based on a novel by Rosalie Ham. It was directed by Jocelyn Moorhouse and produced by Sue Maslin. I quite like the fact that they are all women. Kate Winslet is one of my favourite actors and having the smouldering and gorgeous Liam Hemsworth in it is really not bad viewing at all.
There is an element of the unreal about this but somehow it doesn't matter as the acting is first class and the laughs are so plentiful. The story is about a young girl born in this god forsaken Australian backwater called Dungater in the 1950s who was accused of killing a schoolmate in her youth. As a consequence she was sent away to boarding school in Melbourne. She returns to face her community and her demons and to clear her name.
How she does this is so amusing. In her years away she has become a very accomplished dressmaker, which is something that her mother taught her when she was still at home. She returns with her trusty Singer. Don't we all remember those beautiful machines that came in their own boxes or on tables with wrought iron legs?
She sweeps in and sweeps all the debris out of her mother's home. She is called Mad Molly and appears to have difficulty remembering her daughter Myrtle aka Tilly. Tilly has her mother's fighting spirit and quickly captures the hearts of the womenfolk of Dungater by producing stunning gowns in this wind swept god forsaken little Hicksville.
Of course the effects are so stunning that everyone decides on going to Tilly for an instant transformation and the gowns are wonderful against the decaying house fronts and the dust. They capture the hearts of all the womenfolk but also that of Sergeant Farrat, the local police officer who loves to dress up.
The quirkiness of the story worked for me, as the script was lively, the sets accomplished to reflect the era of the time and the storyline full of the twists and turns that we might associate with the deep secrets lying beneath the surface of this desolate, rural one street community.
Kate Winslet is brilliant as the very sexy and accomplished Tilly. She has panache and skills in good measure. Her mother played very ably by Judy Davis is the other very strong performance in this film.
Liam is a worthy suitor and we all hoped for a happy ending but I guess we would have been a little disappointed with that. So what happens is actually far more rewarding and you will have to go and see it to see how this film unravels to bring us some dark humour but also magic back on the screen.