Director and screenplay writer Jocelyn Moorhouse described her film as, “Clint Eastwood’s Unforgiven with a sewing machine.” Unforgiven would go on to win four Oscars including Best Picture and Director. Jocelyn Moorhouse would no doubt hope the same for her first directed film in nearly twenty years after A Thousand Acres and her first Australian film in nearly twenty five years after Proof, which caught Hollywood’s attention.
Based on the 2000 novel by Rosalie Ham, and set in a small, rural country town in 1950s Australia, Kate Winslet plays the titular role of the dressmaker, Myrtle Dunnage, who returns home to take care of her mentally unstable mother, Molly, played by Judy Davis.
In the film’s premise, Molly had sent Myrtle away at a young age because of false accusations of her murdering a local boy. Myrtle tries to come to turns with the memory of this, a recurring motif in the film.
Fast forward to the present and Myrtle is now an expert dressmaker and seamstress. She transforms the locals with her designs, making everyone look like a Hollywood star. However, she and her mother remain unpopular amongst the locals in this Crucible like little town.
THE DRESSMAKER is set to be one of the best Australian films of the year. It is a very well put together film covering some very intense, dramatic themes, nicely balanced by lighter, comic touches.
The star studded cast includes Liam Hemsworth, Hugo Heaving, Rebecca Gibney, Shane Bourne, Gyton Grantley and Shane Jacobson.
The scenery and landscape of rural Australia is breathtaking and the period costumes are wonderful.
THE DRESSMAKER opened in cinemas on Thursday 29 October. Jocelyn Moorehouse’s film has started well and is currently Number 1 at the Australian Box Office and is the most nominated film in the race for this years’ ACCTA awards.