By Rose Allatt (Melbourne)
The Dressmaker more like the technicolour dream coat.
I really wanted this movie to be amazing. How could you go wrong with the idea of a dress maker coming home to share her passion and talent for design with her home town, country no less, (think of the imagery) who would surely learn a lot from this girl? …Not so.
For starters there is no real exploration of how the dressmaker got her talent, just some cursory references to her mother showing her the craft, (who turns out to be a bitter abused drunk) and her travels overseas, but not enough to convince you this girl really is a dressmaker (the title by the way).
Then there’s the subplots which all seem a little familiar, think Chocolate, Witness and Red Dog. Not to mention the confusion in casting. We never really know how old the dressmaker is other than she’s played by Winslet which would suggest she’s 40’s. But then she shacks up with Liam (about 25?) who was present when the incident happened, so that doesn’t help us. Overall their love scenes, though tender, are a bit mother and son. I liked the theme of small townsfolk being the curse but their loyalties are confusing as one minute they seem to be on her side then not and her dressing them doesn’t bring them together, but tears them apart (bus scene near the end), not inspirational.
The set of the town was just too small and stage show production like. The town with all their characters (all very good looking by the way) were almost living on top of each other and the set resembled a Western more than a 50’s town. Bricks were invented by then. At the end of the film I was left wanting. I think it takes plots from many films but never gains its own identity. The acting though was top rate.