Kate Winslet in THE DRESSMAKER is #goals in Every Way

“You were better off away from here. You would have been stuck hiding with me on the top of this hill, if you hadn’t been sent away.  But instead, you can create. You can…transform people. That’s very powerful. Use it. Use it against them.”

–Molly (Judy Davis) to Tilly (Kate Winslet) in THE DRESSMAKER

Last night I enthusiastically watched one of Amazon’s recent acquisitions, THE DRESSMAKER. Based on the novel of the same name by Rosalie Ham and directed by Jocelyn Moorhouse, the wildly ambitious tale of “love, revenge and haute couture” arms the central character with a sketch pad and tailor’s chalk. Initially released in Australia in 2015, it made its limited US opening in 2016. I immediately vibed with Kate Winslet’s opening line “I’m back, you bastards” and the theme of revenge via transformation. I am inspired by Ms. Winslet’s performance and look in the film, and kind of fell in love with the whole thing.

It’s not a perfect work. The editing seems clunky or rushed to me. And it’s not going to be everyone’s cup of tea: it exists in a universe that could have been birthed by Lemony Snicket and schooled by Lasse Hallström and Quentin Tarantino. But there is so much lovable quirk, camp, and couture, I can easily see THE DRESSMAKER  gathering a US cult following among artsy content-streamers this year.

Judy DavisJudy Davis is brilliant and I hope her heavy-lifting is recognized by viewers. She’s making everyone’s else’s job easier in every scene. I re-watched a couple of her scenes to try to figure out how she’s doing it. Her brain is so agile, working at thoughtfully-constructed depths as she takes ownership of this complicated character, and then we only get to see what bubbles to the top. It’s spectacular.

Hugo Weaving. HUGO WEAVING. His performance as the cross-dressing police sergeant, Horatio Farrat, is equally smart, brave, and delightful. Horatio’s obsession with fabric and fashion many audience members will immediately recognize as their own. You’ll either get it (and become bewitched yourself) or you won’t.

DressmakerLiam Hemsworth is exactly who you would want Liam Hemsworth to be.  I mean, not around silos, but everywhere else.

I highly recommend this film to my friends, and I want to go out for drinks and talk to you about it asap.

I Need This: Judith Light In the Service of Storytelling

Judith LightThis week I neeeeeded this interview with the amazing Judith Light by Linda Holms. If you have sixteen minutes and change, listen to this lovely conversation full of inspiring  gems. Some of my favorite moments:

After more than 40 years in the business she says “I’m finding myself in a very new place, my manager of 36 years has passed away, and I’m in a real process of finding a new way, my new path. And I’m so grateful to be on TransParent because I have a family there that i feel very held and nurtured by…..But it’s a new world for me.”

From Broadway to Soap Opera: “I was making these pronouncements. I had these pictures in my head about what I should be doing and where I should be going and how lofty this life that I was embarking on should be. And I said I would only do theater and feature film, and that’s a really ridiculous thing to make a pronouncement on because at the point in time when I got the soap I was looking at leaving the business. Because it wasn’t working out according to those pictures.

“I didn’t know if the work that I was doing made any kind of a difference. And I kept thinking, ‘how can I find a way to make a difference in the world?’…So the content of my career didn’t matter as much to me as what the context was going to be.”

“I realized this business wasn’t about me, it was about the team, it was about everyone. And it was about the service of storytelling.”

“My disdain for, the way I looked down on certain parts of our business was my problem…When I was there as the understudy I watched how hard they worked and what great actors they were.”

“Ride the horse in the direction it’s going instead of fighting…I want to look at the things that are presented to me and I want to be grateful and respectful and I want to reach more people.”

“I learned how to hear comedy. Comedy is music. It’s math. It’s numbers, it’s what you hear.”



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