The Dressmaker Saturday, 28 March 2020

The Dressmaker

Additional Info

  • Rating:

    M: Mature themes, violence, coarse language and sexual references.

  • The pitch:

    The dressmaker gets her Hemsworth.

  • Starring:

    Kate Winslet, Liam Hemsworth, Judy Davis, Hugo Weaving, Sarah Snook, Caroline Goodall, Kerry Fox, Rebecca Gibney, James Mackay, Shane Jacobson, Gyton Grantley, Barry Otto

  • Directed by:

    Jocelyn Moorhouse

  • Running time:

    118 minutes

  • Rated:

    M (Australia), NR (UK), NR (USA)


    People are sliced/slashed, punched, wrestled, slapped, pushed, tackled, face-grabbed, headbutted, kneed in crotch, tormented, dragged, suffocated, hit by objects, drowned, sedated/drugged. A child is slapped, bullied, hit with a ruler, victimised, grabbed, slammed against a wall, threatened with death, rammed in the stomach. Reference to former spousal abuse ("she always had bruises from running into doors, cut lips, black eyes"). A person in a wheelchair is pushed off a verandah/pushed aside. A woman screams rape. A woman collapses (stroke). Objects thrown/broken/smashed/knocked over. Burning town/arson, explosion, brawling. Theories of how a child died discussed (broken neck/fell out of tree/head smashed with a brick). Screaming, yelling, arguing, squabbling. Killing child and her mother, Lizzie Borden mentioned. Blood/gore: Corpses (including child). Bloody trousers, mouth, eye, head, floor, clothing, hands, knife. Blood spatter, pooling blood. Blackened tooth, bandage.


    A man has sex with his comatose wife (spousal rape). A couple has implied sex. A man initiates sex with a mistress. Kissing, flirting, undressing, ogling, provocative behaviour. Couple with bare shoulders in bed. Skimpy clothing, bare legs/shoulders, shirtless men. People in 1950s nightwear/underwear. A man flicks through photos of scantily-clad (1950s) women, drawing of nude woman on wall (breasts visible). Homosexual references (comic). Perversion, affairs mentioned.


    A woman consumes a tonic for sedation. Hashish/marijuana cakes/brownies eaten. Aspirin tablets seen. Alcohol (beer, wine, spirits, hip flask, champagne). Intoxication. Smoking. Drug dealing mentioned.


    F-words, s-words, a-words, bastard, b*tch. Name-calling. Derogatory terms for women. Snarky comments about weight. Religious references and exclamations. Country, gender stereotypes.


    Dressmaking, murder of a child, mental illness, mother-daughter relationships, revenge, paternity, curses, footy, cross-dressing, death, grief, memories, adultery, weddings, reputation, anxiety, kyphosis, stroke, accidents, rumours, bullying, estrangement, Shakespeare's Macbeth, theatre, special brownies.


    Dead child, dead son, dead boyfriend. Coma mentioned. Body washed/prepped for funeral. Wedding, funeral, church, cemetery settings. Possum, horse, dogs, buzzing flies, pig, mice, chicks, kite (bird). Maggots, marino [sheep] mentioned. An object is removed from the rear end of a sheep-shaped sign. Spitting, urination, clipping toenails. Cracked mirror, trashed/filthy house, OCD. Fish prepared for cooking. Based on the novel The Dressmaker by Rosalie Ham.


    Silly, fun, weird, energetic, zany, glossy, goofy, deranged, over-the-top, quirky, lively, propulsive, theatrical, watchable. Swoon-worthy chemistry between Kate Winslet and Liam Hemsworth, spry/snaggle-toothed/high-pitched performance by Judy Davis, skilled supporting cast, some charming/clever scenes, predominantly female cast, sprightly score, lived-in interiors, gorgeous/striking costume design, jarring/genuinely upsetting death scenes.


    Messy, unsettling, unsatisfying, strange, genre-shifting, manic, exhausting, daffy, absurd, overripe, fumbling. Tonal mish-mash, uncomfortable stereotypes, heavy-handed metaphors, vast age differences between cast members who are supposed to be the same age, some jokes wear very thin, feels forced, overstays its welcome.

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