Kate Winslet has had a busy year in terms of acting roles. She’s gone head to head with Shailene Woodley for the second time in Young Adult film Insurgent of the Divergent series, she’s designed gardens for King Louis XIV in A Little Chaos and most recently she has been Apple’s main man’s right hand woman in Steve Jobs! When I saw trailers for The Dressmaker I thought this would be a by the numbers romance film with all the funny bits being shown to draw audiences in. Could Winslet impress in this film adapted from the novel of the same name by Rosalie Ham?
To my absolute shock The Dressmaker was actually a pretty entertaining movie with plenty going for it! The film was marketed very much as a romance film with an undertone of mystery and crime. In reality the film is really one big mystery with plenty of comedy, much of which is black, emotion and romance! Any of my fears of being bored during my viewing were quickly silenced as all of these elements combine allowing the audience to have a great time watching this mad story unfold. One of the best elements to the movie had to be its comedy, this came in many ways which was such a bonus as it wasn’t ever predictable. The script was very funny in parts, the cast brought a lot of comedy to their performances and the story lent itself well to this aspect. You can expect to laugh if you go see this movie and pretty hard too. The small town politics were usually the biggest contributor to the comedy but this setting also lent itself well to the more emotional and deeper moments that the film did have. It was surprising how effective these softer moments were with so much comedy taking the limelight. The mystery element was sweet and only added to the intrigue that the film already had and even the romance was bearable bar a few cheesy lines of dialogue.
The performances were great in The Dressmaker and each cast member took to their characters wonderfully. Kate Winslet was awesome in the lead role and was looking fine throughout! Liam Hemsworth gets much more attention here than he ever does in the Hunger Games series as the heartthrob. He plays his part well and he has good chemistry with Winslet despite the age gap. Hugo Weaving clearly has fun in his flamboyant role and this fun transpires effortlessly to the audience. This fun was reflected in many elements of the film, one of which was the music. The score for the film was ace with elements harking back to the classic westerns giving the impression of pistols at dawn style standoffs between the town people. The film is undoubtedly fun but this does come at a price as with all the elements I have mentioned The Dressmaker does become tonally confused. There are one or two natural stopping points in the film which would have made the film a very effective dramedy however these potential endings are set aside for more comedy that comes in the final section of the film. I’m not quite sure that this change of tone suits the film as a whole but the final section of the film was probably the most entertaining of them all! As a result the two hour running time seriously flies by.
So whilst The Dressmaker is certainly tonally messy in parts these parts are consistently entertaining and if you embrace the madness of the film you should have a blast with it! The great performances bring what must be a very funny, emotional and mysterious novel to life with great ease and effectiveness. The Dressmaker is probably the biggest surprise of 2015 for me, what I thought was going to be a predictable romance tale was actually a mad spaghetti western revenge romance comedy drama! You see why it may have tonal issues right!? Regardless though, it’s so much fun that I’d recommend this movie to anyone and especially those who are hesitant as they will probably have the most fun as they won’t be expecting what The Dressmaker has to offer!
Rating – 8.5/10