It is easy to see why The Dressmaker has such immediate appeal down under. Its director Jocelyn Moorhouse and co-writer/producer P.J. Hogan have given us such treats as Proof, Muriel's Wedding and Mental.
This film has lots of parts: part mystery, psychological drama, love story, farce, tale of revenge, and soap. Plus some zany numbers knocked up on the iconic Singer sewing machine. And above all comedy.
In 1951 Myrtle 'Tilly' Dunnage (Kate Winslet), returns to the small Victorian country town, which she was forced to leave as a child. She is a beguiling mixture of vamp and seamstress. Her quest is to uncover the truth behind her exile and to throw off the curse that haunts her. On her arrival the town is united against Tilly, even her mother Molly (Judy Davis). The exceptions are Teddy McSwiney (Liam Hemsworth) and his brother Barney (Gyton Grantley). No spoilers - even though the plot is essentially irrelevant like any self-respecting melodrama.
The cast includes a host of old Aussie troopers such as Hugo Weaving, Barry Otto, Julia Blake, Rebecca Gibney, Shane Bourne and Shane Jacobson. There is more than one allusion to their filmographies but only Barry's hunchback falls a bit flat.
Came away feeling that the spirit of Yahoo Serious (and Young Einstein) lives on in Australian cinema. Thank heavens!