The Dressmaker (redux)

One of the great joys of seeing films is recommending them and, not as often as I’d like, getting to sit with someone as you introduce them to it. This weekend I got to introduce The Dressmaker to an appreciative audience and to re-experience it myself for the first time in 9 months. Normally I wouldn’t have bothered to write up my impressions again having already reviewed it, but having reread my first impressions I realized my sense of the movie was a little different the second time around.

I still very much recommend the movie. In fact, I think I recommend it more than I did the first time, though I was quite taken with it, (warts and all) that showing. Seeing it again, there were fewer obvious blemishes, in large part because I knew the shape of the story. What felt uneven the first time, felt inevitable this viewing. The plot is an unexpected shape: you take a breath expecting particular hills on the roller-coaster but end up taking turns instead. It works. The setups are often subtle, but the performances are powerful.

I stick by everything I said the first time, but I do have enhance my appreciation of two of the actors. Kate Winslet (Steve Jobs) is astounding to watch through this story. Her ability to convey depths of emotion with a single eye twitch or gesture is amazing. And Judy Davis (The Worricker Trilogy), as her mum, is equally cagey if not best served by the script at times.

This is a delightful dark comedy and one which I’d hoped would find its audience when it arrived here in the States. But it seems to have been abandoned by its studio and it is in a crowded field that is damping its potential. I want more people to find this surprising gem of a twisted tale, so I thought I’d poke you all again to get the word out. This is a wonderfully satisfying (and funny) tale of discovery and revenge that has its own special flavor and some solid talent to serve it up.


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