As February rolls in, moviegoers begin to eagerly await the festivities that are the Oscars, one night in the year where stars from all across the world, both real and cinematic, converge for a single night of celebrations. The Academy Awards, apart from being a night of merriment and fashionable gossip, is highlighted by the awarding of the Oscar awards to the deserving winners. This year, the Oscars, like they have in the past 88 years since their founding, have a magnificent assortment of stars and films that have been nominated for the chance to win a legendary Oscar. Surprisingly though, The Dressmaker is not one such film.
I have seen many of Oscar nominees of this year: Room was spectacular while The Revenant was impressive but out of all these it was The Dressmaker, a film that isn't even nominated for any form of Oscar, that really amazed me. Don't let the title mislead you, this film has more depth and essence than I've seen in a film for a while. It is one of those films, even a month after watching it, that still sends a chill running down my back. I believe The Dressmaker deserves all the esteem and respect worthy of an Oscar winner and here's why:
It is an Emotional Rollercoaster
Two hours isn't a long time. 120 minutes, that's all The Dressmaker had of my time but I don't think I've ever gone through so many emotions in such a short period of time. At first you laugh at the comical entrance of Tilly (Kate Winslet) as she returns to a town that believes her to be a murderer. We watch, laughing, as she attempts to make amends with her estranged and mad mother as well as trys to win the favour of the old-fashioned townsfolk by making them some of the the most eccentric but stunning dresses ever seen. We also get the opportunity to enjoy the humorous chemistry between Tilly and Teddy (Liam Hemsworth) as Tilly attempts to deny her feelings for Teddy, who reciprocates them quite obviously. However, as the film progresses, the comical and light atmosphere slowly becomes darker and darker until you are reeling with excitement as unexpected revelations begin to surface that cause you ti weep as one horrid and heartbreaking disaster after another befalls poor Tilly. For 120 minutes you will be laughing and shouting in excitement but also biting your nails in anticipation and rubbing heartfelt tears away from your eyes. The Dressmaker is an emotional rollercoaster you will just refuse to get off of.
Truthful and Realistic
At first you may think the theme is slightly exaggerated and unbelievable but, as the twist and turns of the plot slowly begin to unravel and the audience discovers the true circumstances that led for Tilly being accused of murder, one begins to feel a rooted truth behind what can be seen on the big screen. There are no kiddy wheels here: the brutal truth of living in a small village filled with close-minded individuals is openly explored in The Dressmaker. We watch as the inhabitants of this town live double lives, one that is real and one that they portray publicly. Each individual has his own story: a police officers that is a secret crossdresser, an ignorant girl who turns nasty to be accepted by her fellow married women. We see that although each individual portrays some form of a perfect life, behind closed doors their lives are just as broken as Tilly's. The truths hidden within each scene are just some of the many things that make this film so captivating.
Full of Unexpected Twists
Just as you think The Dressmaker couldn't surprise you more, it pulls out another plot twist from its bottomless bag of plot twists. One moment you believe that Tilly is trying to remember whether she truly did cause the death of a fellow schoolmate, then we see her struggling to redeem herself in the eyes of the snobbish townsfolk, and then they drop the sudden revelation of the identity of her father reaching the climax when she finally exacts revenge on the village that continues to scorn her and make her life miserable. If you go to watch The Dressmaker be prepared for the unyielding twists and surprises.
A Tale of Redemption
The Dressmaker, if it is any type of film, is a tale of redemption. We follow Tilly as she tries to redeem herself in the eyes of people who would rather label her as a murderess then actually consider the idea of her being falsely accused. We also see as her mother, Molly (Judy Davis), emerges from her insane and mad state induced by the loss of her daughter. We see how this woman's descent to madness was truly the end-product of one man's vindictive desires. We see as the old woman redeems herself, not in the eyes of the town folks (whose opinions meant very little to her) but in the eyes of her own daughter. Often, in such tales, we see how a child tries to redeem himself in the eyes of their parents. Here we see a mother try to redeem herself in the eyes of her child.
The concoction of Characters
You know how sometimes you watch a film and there is a large number of minor characters that have a minimal influence on the actual plot? This is not one of those films. In The Dressmaker there isn't a single character that does not have some effect, even a comical one, on the plot. Each character is unique in his and her own way: we have the (apparent) murderous Dressmaker, the crossdressing police officer, the dashing boy next door, the OCD housewife, the mad mother and countless other uniquely crafted individuals. Each character has his own story and they meld and intertwine with each other to produce something truly appealing to watch.
These are only a few of the many reasons why I believe The Dressmaker is Oscar worthy. Even if the film doesn't have a nomination to its name this film will still, to me, be considered a cinematic masterpiece.