THE DRESSMAKER: who says you can’t have fun with revenge

In Jocelyn Moorhouse’s 2015 The Dressmaker (based on the novel by Rosalie Ham and available on Amazon Prime), Kate Winslet’s Tilly shows just how much fun you can have while slowly taking revenge on those who wronged you. But while the movie is hilarious with its slew of characters, it effortlessly blends in the dramatic and darker sides of the story. Keeping me intrigued and wanting to see how everything in the end will be solved. And if Tilly will get what she wants in the end (Which I can say in some way she does).

Per usual in Winslet’s performance, she does an amazing job bringing the character of Tilly Dunnage to life: confident, sexy and cunning. Able to manipulate those she wants to get the information she needs regarding her past. Still she shows compassion and care for those she loves, even they call her a murderer and claim they don’t know her (aka her mother Molly, played by Judy Davis). She’s vulnerable in moments when she tries to remember her past or think she’s cursed. Making the audience simultaneously sympathize and root for her through out the film. Plus, it’s always fun to see a femme fatale take charge and do what she wants to not only prove her innocence, but show those who wronged her that she is a force to be reckoned with.

Tilly is not the only memorable character in this film. Molly, Tilly’s mother, is extremely hilarious. Davis executes not only the balance between cuckoo crazy and caring mother, but be able to pull off so many one-liners. She instantly became one of the instant characters of comic relief, though she never lost her complexity and mystery about her. Hugo Weaving as Sergeant Horatio Farrat was fabulous as well. I loved seeing him as a flamboyant extravagant man as compared to his more serious roles in the past. (V for Vendetta, The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit); as well as being such a supportive and almost father like figure for Tilly. Liam Hemsworth also does a great job as Tilly’s love interest, Teddy McSwiney. Sure it’s the typical hot young lad role, but hey. I’m not complaining! Besides it was great to see Hemsworth and Winslet pair up. They make a good couple.

Aside from the eclectic bunch of characters, the story and tone of the film worked really well together. Most revenge stories are serious and have darker tones. But this one stands out with not only having a female lead, but adding comedic flair to it. Amidst all the times of sadness and anger there moments of laughter and hilarity sprinkled in to keep the mood light and airy most times. But the comedy is never overpowering. There’s always a balance between the humor and serious situations brewing about. Making it an enjoyable, heart wrenching and hilarious story all wrapped up into one. I definitely would’ve loved some more happiness for Tilly, but she definitely executed what she wanted in the end. What more could you ask for?

In the end this was definitely a fun film to watch. The characters were intriguing and the actors’ performances were spot on. The story and tone of the film was a great mixture of comedy and drama, with Tilly’s main objective never fully wavering as the story progresses. Besides, it’s always fun to see a confident well-dressed woman take charge and take out her full revenge on people. Seems so fun!

Overall Rating: B+

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