Kate Winslet stars as Tilly Dunnage, a woman of the world and a haute couture designer/dressmaker. Tilly returns to her childhood town in Australia to figure out what happened to her when she was a young girl, and to exact revenge on the evil and shortsighted townsfolk in the dramatic story of The Dressmaker.
When she arrives in this dusty backwards town after being in the midst of 1950s Paris, Tilly sets out to find the answers to her past. Her mother Molly (Judy Davis) is considered “mad” yet all the pieces point to Tilly’s past. She just cannot remember what happened and knows she was sent away because she killed a boy. But her memories are stuck somewhere inside her mind. By returning to the town she hopes to find out what really happened.
The town is filled with eccentric people. One by one, Tilly (with the help of Molly) transforms the women into high stylish ladies while at the same time putting the pieces together and discovering secrets in the town and in her childhood. Her old friend Teddy (Liam Hemsworth) seems to be one of the only people on her side.
When she finally remembers what happened and the secrets of the town come to light, she realizes she must get revenge for all the years she was basically in exile. Revenge is a dish best served dressed to the hilt!
Deep, dark, and depressing all describe the story, yet the finale leaves viewers with some contentment. It’s a sad road from the first scene to the final one and mired in cruelty, however the acting is fabulous and Kate Winslet and Judy Davis deserve praise for their performances.
Bonus features on the disc include a look at the story itself and a look at designing the high-fashion clothes Kate Winslet’s character uses to try to add some class to the town. This dusty Australian town is offset by the rich colors she uses in her dresses, starting with the glamorous bright red one she wears to a football game. This woman knows how to turn heads. As the tagline says, “Revenge is back in fashion.”
The Dressmaker is available on Blu-ray and DVD. It’s rated R for brief language and a scene of violence.