The Dressmaker

Posted on September 22, 2016 at 5:29 pm

B
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for for brief language and a scene of violence
Profanity: Some strong language
Alcohol/ Drugs: Drinking and tipsiness, drugs
Violence/ Scariness: Some peril and violence, murder, sad deaths
Diversity Issues: None
Date Released to Theaters: September 23, 2016

Copyright 2016 Amazon Studios
Copyright 2016 Amazon Studios
Kate Winslet plays Tilly Dunnage, a woman with secrets who returns to the tiny Australian town that threw her out as a child. She has become an accomplished couturier, working in London, Paris, and Milan. And she is a master of the bias cut, pioneered by Vionnet, whose photograph she carries with her for inspiration. This film, based on the novel by Rosalie Ham is also, in its way, cut on the bias, alternately wildly funny, wildly romantic, wildly satiric, and, at the same time, dark and tragic. Some will find that disconcerting; others will find it refreshing.

It is 1951. Tilly arrives home in the dust-covered town, her stylish heels stepping off the bus onto the dirt road. She goes up the hill to her mother’s shack, when there is a question from the local sheriff. “Is that…….Dior?” It is not; it is one of Tilly’s own designs. But she acknowledges the Dior inspiration. Sargent Ferrat (Hugo Weaving) is dazzled by the bold colors and sumptuous fabrics of Tilly’s designs. He’s a secret cross-dresser.

Winslet is marvelous as Tilly, who has come home to see her mother, known as Mad Molly (Judy Davis of “My Brilliant Career”), to find out the true story of what led to her exile, and to extract some revenge, both of the “living well is the best” variety and of the old-fashioned “make them suffer” variety as well. Tilly, then known as Myrtle, was abused by her teacher and the students in her class because she was poor and because her mother was not married. After an incident that resulted in the death of a boy in her class, she was sent away. The experience was so traumatizing that she cannot let herself remember exactly what happened, and worries that she was responsible, as everyone thinks. “Am I a murderer?” she asks of her mother.

Director Jocelyn Moorhouse and editor Jill Bilcock bring a vibrant energy to the storytelling that suits the theme of Tilly’s force and focus having an impact on the insular little town, and it is a lot of fun to see assumptions challenged and relationships in upheaval. There is a woman crippled by her wife-beating husband, a pharmacist who seems to be suffering from ankylosing spondylitis as he is bent over parallel to the ground. A civil leader gives his wife, agoraphobic and germophobic since the death of their son, knock-out medicine and then rapes her when she is unconscious. There are vicious gossips and snobs. And there are a few kind-hearted people, Ferrat, who regrets his treatment of Tilly and Teddy (Liam Hemsworth, clearly relishing the chance to speak in his native accent and very swoon-worthy when he removes his shirt). Molly becomes less mad and more feisty under Tilly’s care. Ferrat is not the only one who cannot resist the chance to wear something spectacular. “A dress never changed anything,” a local girl longing to be noticed by the town’s most eligible bachelor says to “Tilly.” “Watch and learn, my girl. Watch and learn.” And we know a Cinderella at the ball moment is coming — when it does, it is breathtaking. Soon, the tiny backwater is populated with ladies wearing haute couture. This has to be a dream assignment for a costume designer, and Marion Boyce and Margot Wilson (Winslet’s clothes) rise to the occasion with fabulously gorgeous and entertaining dresses.

The heightened quality of the story makes the darker turns unexpected and disconcerting. It is not as much of a feel-good movie as it originally promises. But it has its odd pleasures, and one of them is that, like its heroine, it has style to space.

Parents should know that this movie includes some strong language, drinking and drunkenness, sexual references and situations with some nudity, adultery and questions of paternity, domestic violence, murder, and very sad deaths.

Family discussion: What did Tilly want from her return home? Why was Teddy different?

If you like this, try: “Strictly Ballroom” and “Muriel’s Wedding”

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Comedy Drama Movies -- format Romance Satire

Coming to Theaters: Fall Preview 2016

Posted on September 6, 2016 at 8:00 am

Happy fall! Here’s some of the most intriguing and exciting of what’s coming to theaters.

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 9

“Sully”

Tom Hanks plays “Sully” Sullenberger, the heroic pilot who saved all of his passengers when he made an emergency landing on the Hudson River. Clint Eastwood directed.

 

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 16

“Snowden”

Who better than cinema-of-paranoia director Oliver Stone to tell the story of Edward Snowden? Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays the NSA contractor-turned leaker, and Zachary Quinto plays journalist Glenn Greenwald.

“Bridget Jones’s Baby”

Renee Zellweger is back as the romantic comedy heroine, here not sure whether her ex (Colin Firth) or a possible new boyfriend (Patrick Dempsey) is the father of her baby.

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 23

“Storks”

Jennifer Aniston, Andy Samberg, and Key and Peele provide voices for this animated story about storks who have to make sure a baby is delivered to the right home.

“The Dressmaker”

A woman returns to the town that treated her badly to show them how wrong they were.  Kate Winslet and Liam Hemsworth star.

“Queen of Katwe” Director Mira Nair brings us the real-life story of a young African girl who became a chess champion.  Lupita NYong’o plays her mother.

“The Magnificent Seven”

First it was “The Seven Samurai.” Then, “The Magnificent Seven” with Yul Brynner and Steve McQueen and an unforgettable Elmer Bernstein score. There was also a television series. This remake stars Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, and Ethan Hawke.

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 30

“Deepwater Horizon”

Mark Wahlberg, Kurt Russell, and John Malkovich star in the story of the explosion of a BP oil rig that led to the worst oil spill in US history.

“Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children”

A sort of “Avengers” crossed with “Harry Potter” and a bit of “X-Men,” this film based on the best-selling series of books is about a school for children with special powers.

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 7

“Middle School: The Worst Years of Your Life”

A middle schooler who doesn’t like rules end up in a school with way too many of them.  It’s based on the popular series of books by James Patterson and Chris Tebbetts.

“Birth of a Nation”

Actor Nate Parker directed and stars in this powerful festival favorite about the slave rebellion led by Nat Turner.

“The Girl on the Train”

The Paula Hawkins best-seller about an alcoholic woman who becomes caught up in the disappearance of a young woman she watched from a commuter train stars Emily Blunt.

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 14

“The Accountant”

Ben Affleck stars in a thriller about a man on the autism spectrum who has been cooking the books for gangsters.

“Mr. Church”

Eddie Murphy takes on a serious role as a cook who cares for a dying woman and her daughter in a film from “Driving Miss Daisy” director Bruce Beresford.

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 21

“American Pastoral”

Philip Roth’s 1997 novel, set in the political upheavals of the 1960’s, is about a man who embraced and exemplified traditional notions of success only to have his daughter challenge everything he believes and trusts.

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 28

“Inferno”

Tom Hanks is back as Robert Langdon, once again off to save the world, this time teamed up with “Rogue One’s” Felicity Jones.

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 4

“Trolls”

Justin Timberlake, Anna Kendrick, James Corden, John Cleese, Kunal Nayyar, and Gwen Stefani lend their voices to this colorful musical about those cute little creatures with the tufts of hair.

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Opening This Month Trailers, Previews, and Clips

Trailer: The Dressmaker with Kate Winslet and Liam Hemsworth

Posted on August 15, 2015 at 8:00 am

Kate Winslet plays a glamorous woman who returns to her small town in rural Australia. With her sewing machine and haute couture style, she transforms the women and exacts sweet revenge on those who did her wrong.

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Trailers, Previews, and Clips
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