A delightfully light and fun romp that may have just ran a wee bit long and was a bit overly melo-dramatic, but anchored brilliantly by Kate Winslet with scene-stealing turns by both Judy Davis and Hugo Weaving. And who can forget the coustumes?! The Haute Couture out in the outback!
This was a rather simple story by writer/director Jocelyn Moorhouse, and as the tagline goes, about: love, revenge and baute couture. It feels almost YA-like in its plot, from the central mystery to the love story to the tragic twist and lastly to the comeuppance. But yet, it was not YA-enough to wrought the melodramatics nor heavy enough in its themes to really feel Oscar worthy. Lucky for it, it had many glorious laugh out loud moments.
However, what it lacked in narrative depth, it more than made up for it with the acting and the costumes. By golly, the costumes were stunning! It is a crime that Marion Boyce and Margot Wilson were not nominated for an Oscar. Read this to find out more about the amazing costumes!
With all due respect to Winslet, the age-difference between her and Hemsworth was rather distracting, and it should have been somewhat addressed. The main issue was not that she was older, but that Hemsworth looked too young. Winslet looked stunning and rather age-appropriate for her character of about low-to-mid thirties. Nonetheless, Winslet was - as always, like just a handful of actors - a delight to watch. A delicious femme fatale with a strong yet fragile heart.
Davis and Weaving stole the show whenever they are on. The former, an acting legend who goes toe-on-toe with Winslet, electrifying their scenes and injecting a tenderness beneath the craziness; the latter was just a hoot with his flamboyance and loyalty.
Hemsworth was much better here than in The Hunger Games franchise, showing us a certain depth that Gale Hawthorne never allowed him to. And it was a wicked inversion casting him as the love interest, contrary to Hollywood's usual older man/younger woman trope (older brother Chris, who though more age-appropriate, was likely too expensive). Good for you, Kate!
The music was by Australian David Hirschfelder and befitted the film very well, and lensing was by fellow Aussie Donald McAlpine and he made rural Australia looked oddly inviting.
The Dressmaker was light, fun and extremely entertaining and an enchanting distraction from the seriousness of the Oscars-nominated movies. It deserved all the AACTA love and awards it got!