The Dressmaker

In 1950s Australia, beautiful, talented dressmaker Tilly returns to her tiny hometown to right wrongs from her past. As she tries to reconcile with her mother, she starts to fall in love while transforming the fashion of the town.

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  • ★★★★ review by Lagerlout on Letterboxd

    If this is the way Australian filmmaking is headed, then I'm in 100%.

    Funny, dark, ridiculous, well scripted, beautifully acted, a bit of a mess, and full of charming and horrifying moments.

  • ★★★½ review by Lucy on Letterboxd

    she sure did... make some dresses

  • ★★★★½ review by Sheryl (Archive) on Letterboxd

    A beautifully captivating experience I was not expecting! This is definitely the kind of film during which your heart drops partway through, several times for different reasons.

    The Dressmaker is funnier, darker, sadder, and overall way more intense than its promotional campaign; it honestly appeared mundane but pleasing before. But I absolutely adore this movie. Quirky and arty in the best possible way (Tim Burton's Big Fish comes to mind), the film's stunning evocative cinematography and gorgeous performances lend themselves to Australian cinema's singular intense affair with landscape and extreme human behaviour. Everything is heightened to a point where it seems like a stage play, but the contrast between a tiny town full of horrible people and vibrant nature is stark and wonderful. You definitely want Tilly to win after everything she goes through. Kate Winslet owns my heart ALWAYS.

  • ★★★★½ review by Killian on Letterboxd

    A murderer...and a lesbian

  • ★★★½ review by Travis Lytle on Letterboxd

    Moving seamlessly from comedy to tragedy and back, Jocelyn Moorhouse's "The Dressmaker" is a striking portrait of a woman embracing her past, present, and future. Starring a remarkable Kate Winslet, the dark comedy is neatly assembled, potently acted, and engagingly told.

    "The Dressmaker" revolves around Winslet's titular fashion designer who returns to a small Australian town to be with her unwell mother. Her return is not met with open arms as her history in the town is clouded by a tragic incident. However, her urbane couture style soon works its magic, and the close-minded denizens of her home melt, at least, a little.

    The narrative is compelling and surprising, moving in unexpected directions. Comedic stretches turn into scenes of pain before snaking back into something darkly amusing. Playing out against a textured and unforgiving human and geographical landscape, the story mixes tones and emotional shades skillfully. Moorhouse uses her cast to sell the film's mix of emotions, with Winslet, Judy Davis, Hugo Weaving, and Liam Hemsworth offering stirring performances.

    In the end, "The Dressmaker" is a revenge story where vengeance is sophisticated and well-dressed. With its appealing cast, stark and well-heeled beauty, and coursing cleverness, the film easily satisfies an audience that will allow the experience's darkly comic mix of mirth and weighty pathos to effectively wash over it.

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