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The Dressmaker review: Piecing together fabric of past

Having found her metier as a seamstress and trained with the likes of Balenciaga in Paris, Tilly Dunnage (Kate Winslet) has returned to Dungatar for her elderly mother, Molly (Judy Davis), and to uncover who's to blame for what happened to her as a child.

Tilly finds her mother bed-ridden in a filthy house, not recognising her own daughter, and sets about cleansing and nursing her back to health - against her wishes. Tea chests of exotic fabrics arriving from Paris soon pique the interest of Sergeant Farrat (Hugo Weaving), who has a secret - like almost everyone else in the town. Tilly makes her presence known by posing in two dresses pitch-side at a local football match.

The ladies of the town arrive at her door, asking her to dress them, with remarkable results. Tilly also captures the attention of footballer Teddy McSwiney (Liam Hemsworth), whose family has been keeping an eye on old 'Mad Molly' in the daughter's absence. She initially resists his overtures, fearing her past has cursed her.

Gradually Tilly's new customers, Sergeant Farrat and Teddy, help the outcast to piece together what really happened when she was younger, and the town's case against her begins to unravel. However, Tilly's beautiful creations cannot mask the real ugliness of the locals' narrow minds.

Three stars

The Dressmaker (12A, 118 mins)

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