Tag Archives: Judy Davis

The Dressmaker

Myrtle “Tilly” Dunnage (played by Kate Winslet) is a slave to glamour. She’s besotted with expensive fabrics and stylish textiles and her haute couture creations have established her as a big name in the society design salons of Paris. But now, with her sewing machine under her arm, she’s come back to her small home town in rural Australia. Her memories have drawn her back as there are things she must put right. She trudges up the dirt track to her childhood home and finds her mother, Molly (by Judy Davis), dishevelled, down on her luck and in poor health. The house itself is in a sorry state of repair too. But the town hasn’t changed – the residents are all just as eccentric, judgmental and hypocritical as they always were. With long memories and holding their grudges forever, these people just never change. But they all have secrets too – and Tilly’s determined to right the wrongs of the past one way or another. One by one, she reconnects with her ex-neighbours – the effeminate Sergeant Farrat (by Hugo Weaving), the storekeepers – Alvin Pratt (by Shane Jacobson) and his wife Muriel (by Rebecca Gibney), their daughter Gertrude (by Sarah Snook) and the town simpleton – Barney McSwiney (by Gyton Grantley). The people do their best to go about their daily drudgery, but Tilly’s created a literally “colourful” distraction and it’s hard to ignore her. When she is courted by Barney’s brother, Teddy McSwiney (by Liam Hemsworth), Tilly is taken by surprise when she discovers feelings she thought were long buried beneath her guilt and shame. What was once a town scandal is slowly starting to unravel and the truth is coming out, once and for all, with all the people who told all the lies being found out along the way …

This is a delightful and entertaining movie. It’s a gentle comedy that offers several wonderful cameo performances by people who’ve been in much higher bankrolled films than this. Every character is unique and portrayed wonderfully by a member of the very strong ensemble cast – it’s full of surprises. Several notables are almost unrecognisable in these roles and they don’t seem to care – as Tilly’s mother, Molly, Judy Davis is wrinkled and downright grouchy for most of the movie; Gyton Grantley is endearing and heart-warming as Barney; Hugo Weaving plays the cross-dressing policeman to perfection and Shane Jacobsen’s absolutely made to play Alvin Pratt. I can’t go past the total eye-candy Liam Hemsworth provides either … just saying. There’s so many great performances amongst the cast it’s really unfair to pick out only a few. It’s a bit like “Under Milkwood” where the town boasts so many fascinating characters, each with a curious story in their own right. You will no doubt enjoy the Pettymans – Evan (by Shane Bourne) and Marigold (by Alison Whyte), along with the wonderful characters presented by Barry Otto, Sarah Snook, Julia Blake and Kerry Fox. It is based on the best-selling novel by Rosalie Ham , “The Dressmaker”. Rightly so, during the 2015-16 award season the movie has been recognised by the Australian Film Critics Association with a People’s Choice Award for Favourite Australian Film and gives individual awards for best Actress (Kate Winslet), Supporting Actor (Hugo Weaving), Supporting Actress (Judy Davis) and Screenplay (Jocelyn Moorhouse and PJ Hogan); the Australian Film Institute gives best Lead Actress (Kate Winslet), Supporting Actress (Judy Davis) Supporting Actor (Hugo Weaving) and Costume Design (Marion Boyce and Margot Wilson). The Australian Screen Sound Guild recognises it for best achievement in Sound Mixing and the Film Critics Circle of Australia awards Judy Davis with Best Actress – Supporting Role; along with Kate Winslet for Best Actress. Just enjoy it.

Made in 2015. Directed by Jocelyn Moorhouse


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Posted by on May 18, 2016 in Movies


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To Rome with Love

Aahhh … Rome …. The Eternal City …. the place that makes you forget everything and just want to be in love … if only that path ran smoothly.

Here in Rome, people’s lives are played out against the marvellous backdrop of history, monuments, warm weather and pure pleasure in the air. Jerry (by Woody Allen) has travelled to Rome to meet the man his daughter Hayley (by Allison Pill) plans to marry. Jerry has some difficulty accepting his retirement and his wife, Phyllis (by Judy Davis) patiently works through these issues (along with all this other neuroses) with him. Upon arrival, they meet Hayley’s betrothed, Michaelangelo (by Flavio Parenti) and his family welcomes Jerry and Phyllis into their home. Meanwhile, architectural apprentice Jack (by Jesse Eisenberg) and student Sally (by Greta Gerwig), who live an idyllic Roman life together, make room for Sally’s best friend, Monica (by Ellen Page) who comes to stay. Sally knows that usually everyone falls in love with Monica, but she’s just getting over a nasty breakup, so she won’t be interested in a new relationship just now, right?  Jack bumps into his professional idol John (by Alec Baldwin\ and invites him home for coffee. On the other side of town, newlyweds Antonio (by Alessandro Tiberi) and Milly (by Alessandra Mastronardi) have just arrived in town from their coutry home. They settle into their honeymoon suite and prepare to meet Antonio’s uncles, who have paved the way for his stunning new career in Rome. At the same hotel, a mischievous group of friends have prepared a “surprise” for their mate and arranged for call-girl Anna (by Penelope Cruz) to make a “special” visit to his suite, Later that day, everyday family man, Leonardo (by Roberto Benigni) very happily married to Sofia (by Monica Nappo) somehow finds himself surrounded by paparazzi and the next “big thing” in town – yes, it’s just another ordinary day here in Rome really …..

This is a lightweight, daydream through various complex lives and scenarios that play out across Rome. Somehow time seems to stand still while the people involved all get themselves into sticky situations, which magically resolve themselves by the end of the movie. It is a beautifully made piece and easy to watch – what’s not to like about a movie set in Rome?  The styling is wonderful, the colour is uplifting and the characters are all authentic. As Woody Allen movies go – and hot on the heels of “Midnight in Paris”, it’s not nearly as good, but it’s okay. The irritations I usually find with Allen’s movies are lesser here – his propensity to populate his movies with characters who are all New York nerotics who think of nothing but themselves is lesser here – thankfully Jerry (Woody Allen’s own character) is the only one like that. The others are all very enjoyable – I like Alec Baldwin in comedy, he plays it straight very very well. Penelope Cruz is great here (as she was in “Vicki Cristina Barcelona”) and I like the efforts of Jesse Eisenberg too. I think Roberto Benigni is just being himself, but either way he’s entertaining.  It’s a nice movie, with typical but still enjoyable comedy.

Made in 2012. Directed by Woody Allen

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Posted by on April 16, 2013 in Movies


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Husbands and Wives

Gabriel Roth (played by Woody Allen) is a Professor of English in a New York City university. He has been married to Judy (by Mia Farrow) for the past ten years. One evening, their friends Jack (by Sydney Pollack) and Sally (by Judy Davis) arrive to go to dinner with them and announce that after more than 20 years of marriage they are splitting up. Gabe and Judy are taken aback by the news, but since Jack and Sally are relatively calm about it, they try to “take it in their stride” and all move on with their lives. Except they can’t … Gabe and Judy try their best to be supportive to their friends during this unstable period, but they find themselves questioning their own relationship and themselves more and more. Jack and Sally both take up new partners – Jack with Sam (by Lisette Anthony), a young, fit, health-nut aerobics instructor; and Sally with Michael (by Liam Neeson), her handsome and chivalrous work colleague. As time goes on, Gabe and Judy watch as Jack and Sally start to remember their attraction and affections for each other, but Gabe and Judy’s questioning doesn’t abate and they start to acknowledge their attraction to others – Gabe to a beautiful and brilliant student in his class, Rain (by Juliette Lewis) and Judy to another man she works with. Where will all this discussion, questioning and exploration end – can it be leading to a good outcome?

As a piece of theatrical and cinematographical art, this work is magnificent. The camerawork is excellent, directing is marvellous and the characters are unrelenting in their engagement of the flawed people in this drama. The performances are all excellent, particulary Mia Farrow, Juliette Lewis and Judy Davis.  I can’t help thinking that Woody Allen is just being himself, but perhaps that’s where his talent lies – as he makes it look so easy. However, as a piece of movie entertainment it is hard-going. The piece is basically a two hour talk-fest where characters either talk to each other, or to camera (as if speaking with their therapist) to check and question and re-check the situations in their lives and try to explain them. Because the characters are all totally self-absorbed, this can get frustrating. Overall, it is an excellent commentary on people and relationships, but I am not sure that everyone is as neurotic as these people are depicted.

Made in 1992. Directed by Woody Allen.

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Posted by on May 15, 2012 in Movies


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The Eye of the Storm

In “The Eye of the Storm” Charlotte Rampling plays the matriarch of a well-to-do and affluent family, with Australian actors Judy Davis and Geoffrey Rush as her daughter and son (respectively) who have a fractured relationship with their mother, but arrive at her deathbed-side to make sure they are visible enough to get their inheritances. The movie is made in Australia and the cast also includes many other great Australian actors. It is a very good drama, with a plot that meanders to various places, with interesting characters and it is beautifully made by Fred Schepsi. It is perhaps a little too long, but a good drama. The screenplay has been adapted from the ninth published novel by Australian novelist and 1973 Nobel Prize-winner, Patrick White.

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Posted by on November 22, 2011 in Movies


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