Film Screening 20th February, 2016

Poster for The Dressmaker

The Dressmaker 

7:00 PM, 20th February, 2016
No Guests

  • M
  • 119 mins
  • 2015
  • Jocelyn Moorhouse
  • P.J. Hogan, Jocelyn Moorhouse
  • Kate Winslet, Liam Hemsworth, Hugo Weaving, Judy Davis

In The Dressmaker, glamorous dressmaker Myrtle ‘Tilly’ Dunnage (Winslet) returns to her small town in rural Australia to care for her ailing mother. With her sewing machine and style, she not only transforms the women of the town but also uncovers the truth behind a mysterious death from her childhood.

A fantastic Australian accomplishment, The Dressmaker is a lot of fun and deserves to hold its place alongside classics such as Muriel’s Wedding, Strictly Ballroom and The Castle. This is a deliciously dark and comic drama with iconic, larger than life characters that would be right at home in a spaghetti Western.

With her innate style and flawless Aussie accent, there was never any doubt that Kate Winslet would take out the AACTA Award for Best Actress. Likewise for Judy David and Hugo Weaving for their hilarious performances, winning them Best Supporting Actress and Supporting Actor, respectively. Liam Hemsworth provides plenty of eye candy for the ladies, and Sarah Snook adds yet another entry to the long list of the many good films she has appeared in this year. 

There is also a long list of quirky characters played to perfection by a talented supporting cast including Alison Whyte, Sacha Horler, Shane Jacobson, Barry Otto, Julia Blake, Shane Bourne, Gyton Grantley and Rebecca Gibney.

The Dressmaker marks the long awaited return of Jocelyn Moorhouse to the director’s chair after nearly 20 years. She has delivered a film that will long be remembered as an Aussie classic; a very stylish drama and a darkly comic tale of love, revenge and haute couture.

Michael McKenna

Poster for By the Sea

By the Sea 

9:09 PM, 20th February, 2016

  • MA
  • 122 mins
  • 2015
  • Angelina Jolie
  • Angelina Jolie
  • Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, Mélanie Laurent, Richard Bohringer

Husband Brad and wife Angelina play husband Roland and wife Vanessa in a memoir for those who have known the tepidity (or worse) of a long-suffering relationship. The study of this in itself makes the film worthwhile, because you will only recognise the symptoms, the avoidance and the despair all too well.

The splendour of seaside 1970s France (though filmed in Malta) is juxtaposed to the staleness of Vanessa and Roland’s relationship. She is a dancer who no longer dances, descending into lethargic pill-popping instead. He is a writer with writer’s block, descending into defeatist drunkenness instead. Will watching the younger couple staying next door light a spark or lead to some painful discovery?

The Pitts are clearly attempting to replicate something of the French new wave films of the ’70s. Consequently their film has a minimalist style, little character development and slight narrative. It is undeniably slow – almost ponderous – particularly in the first half. In many ways the movie is much like the relationship it portrays, and if this is intended then it scores highly. Certainly a plus side is that it asks you to interpret what unfolds using your own life experience, rather than spoonfeeding you, something Hollywood is famous for. The only thing self-evident is the storyline’s resolution.

No doubt the jury will still be out on Angelina’s prowess as a director. On the screen, however, she’s still got it.

George Zuber