Movie Reviews

The Dressmaker (2015) – Film & Wine Club

the-dressmaker-movie-review-2015Director: Jocelyn Moorhouse

Genre: Comedy, Drama

Runtime: 119 Minutes

Main Cast: Kate Winslet, Judy Davis, Liam Hemsworth, Hugo Weaving, Julia Blake, Shane Bourne, Caroline Goodall, Hayley Magnus, Sarah Snook, Kerry Fox

Plot: After being sent away from her small hometown years ago, Tilly Dunnage (Kate Winslet) returns for revenge. Along the way she tries to reconcile with her mother and also find out what really happened on that fateful day, with the help of Teddy (Liam Hemsworth), who she falls in love with.

My Thoughts: This my third and final pick for mine and my parents’ Film & Wine Club, and I was really hoping I’d earnt their trust in picking good movies because this one was quite an ‘out there’ choice. If you’ve seen The Dressmaker before you know how bonkers it is, and if you haven’t, then you really should. There’s romance, there’s drama, there’s mystery, and it’s funny too. Just like how Fight Club isn’t about fighting, The Dressmaker isn’t about dress-making. We’re all riding the high from Mare of Easttown too so I was looking forward to it, although we did learn that my Dad has held a grudge against Kate Winslet ever since Titanic. He’s never forgiven her, apparently.

The characters are what makes this movie so great. From Tilly herself, arriving in the town dressed to the nines, with an “I’m back, you bastards”, to Hugo Weaving’s fashion-loving policeman, to the despicable townspeople – there isn’t a single one of them that just blends into the scenery, they all have great presence. There’s never a dull moment, either. With so many things going on, the time flies by. Just like Tilly, we want to find out what happened to that boy all those years ago. We also want to see the rest of their town get comeuppance, and for Tilly to finally find some happiness.

Where do I go from here? We’ve got two films left in the hat, the next one is my Dad’s last pick, Goodfellas (1990), and the final one is my Mum’s last pick, which she’s already forgotten so that’ll be a mystery to us all. It’s been so much fun though that we’re going to carry on, and so now I’m trying to decide what 3 movies to introduce them to next.

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Best Bit: Obviously the moment where Tilly finally remembers what happened when she was a child was great – but my absolute favourite bit is Tilly’s mum joining in on her date with Teddy. It’s just too funny. That, or any moment that Hugo Weaving is lusting over fabric. He’s definitely a scene stealer.

Worst Bit: *SPOILERS* I’ve only seen the movie once when it was first released, so I’d forgotten most of the smaller details and twists, but one thing I could never forget was poor Teddy in the silo. It was one of the most shocking moments in a lot of movies, because I really thought him and Tilly could be together and that would be the happy ending. It still had one of course, but Teddy!

Fun Trivia: Kate Winslet and Judy Davis had a hard time keeping a straight face while filming the scene where Liam Hemsworth strips off to get a measurement. (Didn’t we all!)

My Rating: Four and a half Singer sewing machines, the finest machines around.

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Movie Reviews

Review: Collateral Beauty (2016)

Seriously, what happened to Collateral Beauty? I saw a trailer for it once or twice last year, and then it just came and went. I can only assume it got buried underĀ all the Oscar movies and Rogue One. Anyway, my good friend Jenna came to see the new house last night, and trying to find a movie that neither of us has seen yet can be quite the challenge, so we settled for Collateral Beauty. Besides, we both love Will Smith (who doesn’t?) so we couldn’t go too wrong.

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Howard (Will Smith) suffers a terrible family tragedy that throws his entire life off balance. In his despair, he writes letters to Love, Time and Death, pouring his sorrow into the words. What he doesn’t expect is a visit from Love, Time and Death themselves (a bit like Scrooge’s visits!) which makes him see things in another light.

collateral-beauty-mixed-reviewsSomething I find really cool about this movie is how much it seems to have split the opinions of the viewers. Check out it’s current ratings chart on Letterboxd! I haven’t seen a more split opinion since watching The Fountain, which for the record, I still don’t know how to feel about. The other thing I got excited about very early on is that this movie is very different to how the trailer makes it out to be. There is so, so much more to the story that what those 2 minutes show you. This was a good surprise, rather than a “what?” kind of Passengers surprise.

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As for the movie itself, it’s messy, sadly. It has a huge, star-studded cast (Edward Norton, Kate Winslet, Michael Pena, Helen Mirren, Keira Knightley to name a few) and each has their own complicated story. There’s simply not enough time to get to know these characters well enough, so the emotions thrown at you don’t have a chance to really sink in, leaving you feeling like a bit of a monster for not really feeling anything for them. That said, they have interesting stories to be told, and given some extra time and better pacing, it could have been so good!

What you can’t argue with is Will Smith’s acting talent. I’m not sure if he was trying to bait the Academy with this movie (he was very quiet this year, no?) but his emotions feel genuine, and I can’t stand watching people cry, only because it makes me cry too! To tell you any more about this particular scene would spill into spoiler territory, and I really think if this is something you’d like to see then you should go in as blind as possible.

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I’m sure if I watched this again I’d pick up on all sorts of plot holes, but as a one-time experience, I really enjoyed it. It’s a movie with so much heart and a lot to say, so it’s a shame it wasn’t paced very well or in-depth enough. One thing I will say is that the ending in particular is shocking; for better or worse will depend on each individual viewer, but it’s an ending I certainly won’t forget for a long time.

Whether you love it or hate it, Collateral Beauty is a movie that’ll get any movie fan talking at least. I give the movie 3 and a half falling dominoes out of 5!

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