After loving the film, I was keen to read the base material. Rosalie Ham creates such a wonderful world in the book, the fictional town of Dungatar, with so many wonderful and strange characters. It has all of the personality and personalities of the film.
And yes, I personally think the film is much better than the book. Well, I’m not sure that better is the word – I think that the film feels like an extension of the book – the book sets up the world, but the film makes the story set in this world work better. It makes Tilly’s place in the world more significant- in the book, several events (including the footy game and some of the romance) happens separate to Tilly, but the film puts her front and centre, and I think that is really important. It works really well.
I would recommend that if you are one of these people like me who really enjoy checking out the source material of films that you enjoy, then read this book and then watch the film. And enjoy both!
1950s, a very small town somewhere in regional Victoria. Tilly Dunnage (Kate Winslet), a glamorous dressmaker, returns to town, twenty-five years after she was taken away as a child for killing another child. She doesn’t remember, and feels cursed, so has come back to her mother, Mad Molly (Judy Davis) to learn the truth. Molly doesn’t remember her, but the rest of the town does, and she is hated. But when she transforms mousey Gertrude Pratt (Sarah Snook) into a gorgeous apparition with a fabulous dress, the townsfolk are forced to reassess.
I loved this film. I’d been terribly concerned from the trailers that I’d seen it all – the trailer certainly seemed to reveal an awful lot. And it all seemed to be going exactly where I expected it to go until BAM! About two-thirds of the way through the film, my heart was torn from my chest and everything went a totally different direction.
The cast is fabulous, most notably the always wonderful Kate Winslet, Hugo Weaving and Judy Davis. The costumes, as was necessary, were stunning. And the direction and cinematography; wonderful. It had all the quirk that I do love in an Aussie flick, but with powerful heart and, oh. I just loved it.