Kate Winslet’s on a mission of revenge in 1950s Australia. 4/5 stars
In this sumptuous tale of Outback revenge, Winslet's subversive heroine, dressmaker Tilly, returns to her drab hometown in New South Wales after 20 years away.
She's soon turning a series of local ugly ducklings into glamorous swans, but her real aim is to expose the town's dark secrets. Embracing comedy, melodrama, romance and tragedy, the film is a trifle overstuffed - but its excesses only make it all the more enjoyable.
Judy Davis is fabulous as Tilly's dotty mother, Hugo Weaving is great fun as a secretly cross-dressing policeman and Liam Hemsworth strikes a note of down-to-earth sanity as a hunky local, while Winslet, stopping the traffic in an array of drop-dead gorgeous dresses, channels the spirit of the era's screen sirens with voluptuous allure.
A film critic for over 25 years, Jason admits the job can occasionally be glamorous – sitting on a film festival jury in Portugal; hanging out with Baz Luhrmann at the Chateau Marmont; chatting with Sigourney Weaver about The Archers – but he mostly spends his time in darkened rooms watching films. He’s also written theatre and opera reviews, two guide books on Rome, and competed in a race for Yachting World, whose great wheeze it was to send a seasick film critic to write about his time on the ocean waves. But Jason is happiest on dry land with a classic screwball comedy or Hitchcock thriller.
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