Nov 23, 2015

Film Review - loving and hating on "The Dressmaker".

I want to talk to you about a film that I saw and loved, loved, loved recently. I loved it almost as much as I hated it and am torn between recommending it and warning people who have romance in their heart and soul to never ever ever see it because it will break you.

Sounds complicated right? Well, it is.

Firstly, here's the trailer -

So here are the pluses -
  1. A half naked Liam Hemsworth - an easy rec there, right? Check.
  2. A magnificent Judy Davis playing the role of hag. Check. 
  3. Kate Winslet doing a pretty good Aussie (IMHO). Check. 
  4. Amazing outback scenery that is so incredibly rich and incredibly accurate. Check.
  5. Fashion to make you swoon. Check.
  6. An Australian film that is delightfully understated and yet not. Check.
  7. Quirk central. Check.

BUT. And this is a very big but. A couple of things happen in quick succession about half way through (no spoliers, although one wasn't entirely unexpected) that left me so bloody outraged I almost walked out of the cinema. Seriously, I was soooo close.

"No, no, no! How can they do this?" I wailed to my movie companion. I was soooo angry. Furious! Incensed! I've never read the book but I figured it had stayed fairly true to the story here (a fact later confirmed) and if the author had been in the cinema I think I may just have......I dont know...slapped her? Certainly demanded she go back to her computer and make it right because if I'd been reading it this is the place I would have thrown the book against the wall!

But, here's the thing, the ending was so brilliantly, magnificently vengeful (I was cheering so hard) that, as a storyteller, I knew I couldn't have one without the other. If the awful stuff in the middle hadn't happened, the ending would have been very different and the movie would have been the poorer. And it wasn't until I got to the end that I realised how subtle the layering of the plot and the intertwining of the threads actually is. The author/scriptwriter weaved them altogether with such a goassamer hand I want to go back and see it again to pick up on all the gorgeous subtlety.

So yeh....complicated. I've never been so torn by a movie. Ever.

My overall thoughts? I laughed. I cried. Man did I cry. Buckets of tears. But I cheered also. Hands down one of the best endings ever. Should you go see it? The romance writer in me wants to say no but it was so damn good I find myself recommending it despite myself.  I know its only on a limited release outside Australia but if you're after something quirky and funny and different that's heart wrenching and delightfully, spitefully uplifting all in one I think it's worth a look.

Oh, and did I mention a half-naked Liam Hemsworth?

Have you seen The Dressmaker? Did you like it, love it, hate it? Would you recommend it? Ever seen a film where you wanted to walk out halfway through because it was just so damn crushing?

PS -  All my Outback Heat series is now out in the world. They can be purchased at Amazon for $2.99 each and should be across all digital platforms soon!


  1. Oh Amy

    I have heard so many great things about this movie and I loved your take on it I don't go to the movies a lot but this is one I want to see I might rope a couple of the daughters into going on the weekend with me :)

    have Fun

    Off to buy the last book and then I can read them all together need more hours in the day :)

  2. Oh Helen - just take tissues and take heart, the ending is worth it!

    Thanks for buying the books. Hope you enjoy x

  3. Oh, now I REALLY REALLY want to see this! In fact, I've just booked a ticket for tomorrow afternoon showing. Can't wait! (I think!)

    1. Oh, please come back and let us know what you thought, Lousia!

    2. Wow- well, what a movie!! I LOVED Hugo Weaving!!!!! Gutted in the middle...yes, in fact a few tears were shed throughout. I agree, you couldn't have the ending without the middle bit. 't had a fairytale feel to the whole thing which I think the quirky music enhanced. And Liam..... *sigh* I LOVED it.

  4. I'm hoping to see it in the next week or so. I was almost afraid to read your post, Amy, in case of spoilers (thank you for the no spoilers!). I've heard mostly positive reviews, but the odd angry rant too. I think I'm glad I've been warned! I think I'll go alone so that my sobbing doesn't embarrass me.

    So the question now becomes... Will you buy the DVD when it comes out?

    1. Hmm, good question, Michelle.....probably not. But then I haven't bought a DVD in years and probably only reserve that privilege for romcoms I love and want to watch over and over again. Whilst I'd like to see this film again to enjoy the subtlety I dont think I could watch this film *over and over* because I'm not sure how many times I could watch the middle bit....

  5. I loved this movie also. Was just as heart broken by the bit in the middle. Certainly makes for a fabulously different ending.

    Having lived in many small towns and hamlets, the characters depict typical Australian rural would be's if they could be's. Do not miss that one iota.

    I agree, Judy Davis was sensational. I wonder if she needed make up to transform her into a hag

    Also think Last taxi to Darwin deserves an Oscar

    1. I really liked the look of Last Taxi, Christine, but didn't get around to seeing it. Will have to get it on DVD!

  6. Amy, I agree with your review almost word for word. The spoiler bit so heartrending to lovers of romance ruined it for my 22 year old daughter. She couldn't get past it. I had the same reaction as you. Gutted, but you couldn't have had the ending without it. Overall, a superlative film. One of the best I've seen in years. Acting. Setting. Costumes. Everything.
    Now to read the book... Oh, and see the movie again while I can on the big screen.

    1. I dont blame your daughter, Kandy, I barely got past it myself. But I am pleased I hung around for the ending.
      I think seeing it on the big screen again is a really good idea! The scenery deserves a big canvas!

  7. Well now I am intrigued, Amy. I haven't seen the movie yet but really want to. I've only walked out of a few movies, but mostly because they were too violent.

    1. I dont think I ever have walked out on a movie, actually, Jen. I have spent a lot of them with my face buried in my hands however.....

  8. I was really curious about this movie - the trailer looks soooo good!! (and yes, Liam Hemsworth. I've always been Team Chris but Liam looks like he'd be brilliant in this role.)

    I don't think I've ever walked out on a film, not even Torque which I can categorically say is the worst movie of all time. So bad, even, that my friend who'd paid for the tickets wouldn't let me pay him back because he felt so bad for suggesting it.

  9. Amy, I agree with your review! My friends and I were settling in, really enjoying it, then WAIT, WHAAAAAAAAT JUST HAPPENED?!?! But you know what? In the end I loved it. I would see it again, and I think Judy Davis stole the show. Oh, and one of my friends wanted to see it because she decided to review the book for our book club. I was all, yeah, good luck with *that*, afterwards. I can't wait to read the book now, and hear her review. To say she was startled was an understatement.

  10. Amy, this sounds hard to resist. I've seen the shorts and was already intrigued by the movie and your post has made it a must see. And thanks to you, I'm lucky enough to have been pre-warned about the WTF moments! So I'm not going to take my romance writer's rose tinted HEA glasses with me!

    Congratulations on your Outback Heat series!