The first words uttered in conversation elicits a surprise chuckle from the audience and sets the tone for this fashion forward black comedy of small town affairs and stylish fashion.
Tilly was sent away for a crime she can't remember and as she ingrains herself back into the town she grew up in, the past tries to catch up to her and threatens her future.
Set decades past in Australia, The Dressmaker meets a collection of unique personalities that help or hinder her mission to uncover details of a horrible death that occurred in her childhood. All the characters, with their varied histories, special current predicaments and quirky interactions, enrich the story that unfolds in the community. It might not all be pleasant but it is quite fascinating to see how gossip and rumor mongering plays a part in society.
As mentioned, each role is unusual in terms of depth and depiction. Kate Winslet as the dressmaker is almost overshadowed by odder personnel like Judy Davis, her mother who steals the scenes with her cranky antics. Hugo Weaving's passion for fashion is doesn't fail to evoke laughter as well. Liam Hemsworth is ridiculously manly as a farmhand, but needed more meat in his role and in his frame. Sarah Snook had a transformation from a mousy subservient to a feeling of entitled lady is heartening then sad. There's a slew of other interesting inhabitants such as the judgmentally bent pharmacist, the obsessive compulsive housewife, the eventual brownie junkie, the mentally handicapped telescoper and others.
The film is a drama, a mystery, a comedy and a period fashion showcase. Would been a very pleasant fun flick if weren't for the fatalities, a rather depressing shift in the plot. But The Dressmaker came back to town for revenge of sorts and its a largely enjoyable caper that she pulls off with style and panache.