The film focuses on Tilly Dunnage (Kate Winslet), a dressmaker who returns to her home town after being driven from it as a child amidst accusations of murder in order to take care of her mentally ill mother Molly (Judy Davis).
Tonally, the film jumps all over the place; at first glance, the subject matter is deeply tragic, yet director Jocelyn Moorhouse manages to draw the humour out of the situation throughout. This is black comedy which is never content to sit in one genre—at times, this can give the film a sense of identity crisis, but ultimately the impressive ambition shines through.
Winslet not only nails the Australian accent perfectly, but is completely game for these tonal shifts. She expertly switches between moments of high camp and ones in which she evokes a great deal of pathos for Tilly—the role requires a good deal of conviction to the material in order to sell the dark humour, and Winslet brings that in spades. Davis is typically brilliant as Molly; indeed, the best scenes in the film are those which feature these two powerhouse actresses sparking off of one another.
If you like your comedy completely black, this is certainly one to check out!
Screenings of this film:
|2015/2016 Spring Term – (digital)|