Saturday, November 10, 2018

You Ain’t In Paris Anymore-Kate Winslet’s “The Dressmaker” (2015)-A Film Review

You Ain’t In Paris Anymore-Kate Winslet’s “The Dressmaker” (2015)-A Film Review

DVD Review

By Associate Film Critic Alden Riley   

The Dressmaker, starring Kate Winslet, Judy Davis, Liam Hensworth, 2015   

This is a first at least according to my boss Senior Film Critic Sandy Salmon. The first being in this case reviewing a film like the one here, The Dressmaker, produced by an on-line operation, a streaming affair, Amazon the giant merchandise mart. Although Sandy (and film critic emeritus Sam Lowell) have shied away from reviewing such productions these operations probably are a fair representation of where the film industry might very well be heading since Netflix and others have also entered the fray.

Taking that idea into consideration I must say I was impressed by the production values and the acting, especially of the versatile Kate Winslet last seen in this space according to Sam in a review of Titanic although maybe his memory is not what it used to be since that was many moons ago and she has performed in many films between times so he must have reviewed something more current previously. This is a quirky film no question set in the Outback of Australia apparently the new Wild West of film-dom (another film Australia with Nicole Kidman also showing that tendency). What I don’t get though is why in the blubs about film consider this venture a comedy despite some marginal (and again quirky) moments.

Let me explain. Myrtle, Ms. Winslet’s role, returned home to that Outback after making a name for herself as a dressmaker (hence the appropriately named title) in the high-end fashion industry, okay, okay haute couture in Paris, that is in France not Texas. The at first murky reasons for her return after having been unceremoniously sent away from the town after she allegedly had murdered a fellow student who was tormenting her are what formally drives the plot. She ostensibly returned to take care of her ailing and seemingly unstable mother, Molly played by Judy Davis, and to try to figure out what actually happened back at that incident. (That taking care of “unstable” mother who as the film proceeds gets very, very stable and wise another example of film’s ability to raise the dead.)  And discover whether she is cursed by that event. Or should seek righteous revenge for being displaced out of spite since she was illegitimate and her un-acknowledging local bigwig father had been instrumental in sending her away.         
Of course as a professional dressmaker (she only brought one piece of luggage and a sewing machine home) Myrtle or rather Tilly as she preferred to be called was able to gain some cache in town by both wearing high fashion and making such for the braver women of the town. Still the past held her back. Held her back even when handsome Johnny Teddy, played Liam Hensworth, who really was something out of a New Age thoughtful male fantasy despite the 1950s feel of the film, started courting her and helping her retrace her steps to that dark past. And his work paid off as she is made to realize that that so-called murder was actually the tormenting boy killing himself in the act of physically abusing her. That the good part.

That said here is where the thing gets kind of mixed up in the genre department despite some off-beat funny moments. Gallant Teddy after Tilly and he became lovers dies in a freak grain elevator accident. Her “father” is murdered by his unstable wife after Tilly tells her what was what about her son’s so-called murder. In the final scenes Tilly after seeking and gaining revenge at the professional level gains final revenge by burning the town down. You figure out the genre and weird twists but don’t blame the fine performances by Ms. Winslet and Ms. Davis.    

No comments:

Post a Comment