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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Dressmaker is an eccentric, appealing dramedy that's best for older teens and adults, thanks to fairly intense material about murder, mental illness, and bullying. There's also plenty of smoking and drinking, some kissing and sexual situations (though no nudity), and swearing (including "f--k"). Some upsetting/violent scenes are shown or discussed, and in one scene a man drugs his bereaved wife so he can have sex with her. Still, the main character demonstrates perseverance against the odds.
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What's the story?
Apparently, you can go home again. That is, you can if you're Tilly Dunnage (Kate Winslet), aka THE DRESSMAKER. Her mother, Molly (Judy Davis), barely remembers her, and the entire town of Dungatar, Australia, appears to hate her. Tilly thinks she's cursed: Shipped off as a child when she was found standing next to a dead schoolmate, she suffers from feelings of guilt over a murder she doesn't remember committing. Her goal is to piece together the fragments of her memories in a town that has never been very kind to her or her mother. And she wants to find out once and for all if she truly is responsible for the terrible crime that people say she committed. Liam Hensworth co-stars as a young man who sees beyond Tilly's reputation.
Is it any good?
Revenge is a dish best served fashionably attired and ready to pounce in this wacky, sometimes cynical, and often winning examination of forgiveness, revenge, and everything in between. It's also a treat, simply because it takes you to unexpected places in unexpected ways. There's nothing that you could call boring in The Dressmaker. Its bold disregard for the cliched rules of Hollywood storytelling keeps the film energetic, if a little too expansive sometimes. In short, The Dressmaker -- if you'll pardon the pun -- is a near-perfect fit.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the different kinds of abuse portrayed in The Dressmaker, from childhood bullying to sexual assault within a marriage. How does it deal with these hot-button topics?
How does the film depict small-town living? Do you think it's accurate?
How do the residents of Dungatar treat Tilly when she returns? Are they being cruel, or are their reactions justified?
- In theaters: September 23, 2016
- On DVD or streaming: December 27, 2016
- Cast: Kate Winslet, Liam Hemsworth, Hugo Weaving, Judy Davis
- Director: Jocelyn Moorhouse
- Studios: Amazon Studios, Broad Green Pictures
- Genre: Drama
- Topics: Friendship, Misfits and Underdogs
- Run time: 118 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: brief language and a scene of violence
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.