Review: The Dressmaker will have you in stitches

Let The Dressmaker change your world. You won’t regret a second of it!

If there is one film that is divinely unique in every possible way, it’s the quirky Australian charmer The Dressmaker, a film that transforms you in many ways.


Kate Winslet is The Dressmaker

This enchanting creation was written by husband-and-wife team Jocelyn Moorhouse and P.J. Hogan , based on the novel The Dressmaker by Rosalie Ham, with Moorhouse in the director’s seat – Hogan will always be remembered for his cultish Muriel’s Wedding and most recently helmed Pan, and Moorehouse made a great impact with her feature film debut Proof, which starred Hugo Weaving and Russell Crowe.

Moorhouse and Hogan understand the world and people they write about with loving care, compassion and a great sense of twisted humour; it’s a universal story anyone can easily identify with and sink their teeth in.

It’s through their vibrant and dynamic characters that we immediately fall hopelessly in love with their respective journey and will to survive living in a small town reminiscent of classic Western films.

At its heart, The Dressmaker is a spicy mother-and-daughter story, with Kate Winslet and Judy Davis perfectly cast as a devilish duo that explodes with fervour and zest.

The soul of the film is found in a poignant romance in the tradition of great love stories, with Winslet as the fiery and hot-headed damsel whose heart is conquered, and wild spirit tamed by a handsome Prince Charming in the shape of hunky Liam Hemsworth.


The Dressmaker is equally a heartfelt coming-of-age story, with Winslet seeking redemption for a tragedy that occurred during her childhood, and one that caused her to leave the town and branded an outcast.

There are also many other ’ugly ducklings’ townsfolk who are imprisoned by conservatism and tyrannical parents and teachers, who transform into dazzling swans when the Dressmaker gives them a makeover of a lifetime.

These magical and outrageous makeovers are satirical in nature and remind of Fellini creations dressed in Dior that strut around the dusty town, looking like heavenly cartoon creations.

In some ways, these creations remind of another Australian cult classic, The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, where colourful couture inject the stark desert landscape with a vibrant energy.

Hugo-WeavingThe Dressmaker showcases a fantastic ensemble cast, with Hugo Weaving stealing many of the scenes as a zany cross-dressing policeman, whose fondness for lady garments causes much uproar on and off the screen.

The Dressmaker is also exceptionally funny, filled with robust with and laugh-out-loud one-liners, particularly from Davis.

If there’s one scene that borders on absolute hysteria, it’s one where Davis escorts Winslet and Hemsworth on their first date to watch a screening of Billy Wilder’s Sunset Boulevard.


During the screening Davis screams loud comments to the onscreen characters, and at one precious moment, when tragic heroine Gloria Swanson grabs hold of William Holden’s face to kiss him, Davis shouts: ‘’Run!”

The refined and witty comedy of The Dressmaker allows its characters to burst out of their shells and do some crazy stuff; it’s scenes like these that make us yearn for our very own Dressmaker!

These comedic interludes are wonderfully balanced by melodramatic and thrilling overtures that allow us to experience a gambit of emotions.

Its dark comedy infuses some darker moments with a breath of fresh air, allowing is to connect with issues that could easily become overstated.

If you are looking for a film that offers first rate entertainment and ultimate escapism, let The Dressmaker change your world.

You won’t regret a second of it!