Movies: Sully and the Dressmaker; one to see and one to skip

 

The Dressmaker

I don’t know how to label this movie, which takes place in a small rural Australian town in the 1950s. It is sort of a comedy/western/mystery while not really working on any of these fronts. The film stars Kate Winslet as a Paris dressmaker, who returns to her hometown for reasons that are never fully explained and finds her mother in a shack that would give any home on “Hoarders” a run for its money. Her cantankerous mother (played brilliantly by Judy Davis) doesn’t even acknowledge that Myrtle (Winslet) is her daughter and the townspeople all despise her for an unknown reason. Welcome Home!

Myrtle cleans up their home and starts designing dresses for some of the locals while attempting to find out if she murdered a young boy in her youth. We also are introduced to some of the locals who mostly are horrific. There are only really two “good” ones. Teddy, played by Liam Hemsworth, becomes Murial’s love interest despite a twenty something age difference and the local law authority played by Hugo Weaving is a loveable crossdresser who covets Myrtle’s creations and generally sticks up for her.

This film sinks into really depressing stuff and the plot goes all over the place as we make our way through an overly long two hours attempting to determine why Myrtle is despised and what happened in her childhood. The scenes are rarely connected and while there are certainly some comedic moments, marital rape isn’t one of them even though it drew some laughs from the audience. Despite the difficulties with the screenplay, the costumes are amazing and the acting by Davies, Winslet and Wearing is excellent. I’d definitely skip this one if it comes to your local Indy theater.

Sully

I finally got around to seeing Sully. After spending years commuting to LaGuardia on the US Air Shuttle, (the same model as was in the film), I certainly recognized all of the location shots which are really well done. Sully is a typical straightforward Clint Eastwood film that delivers on all fronts. We certainly know the outcome and remember Captain “Sully” Sullenberger with affection and admiration. However, Eastwood is able to build drama and suspense around the NTSB investigation of the crash and the PTSD Sully experienced its aftermath to give us a story that we aren’t familiar with.

The first scene in the movie is extraordinary and reminds us just how vulnerable Manhattan is to large aircraft flying around the city. I’m sure it is no coincidence that the film was released around the 15th anniversary of 9/11. In addition to this first scene, there are others that provide some extraordinary cinematography. The acting is also good. Tom Hanks is Tom Hanks and if you like his work you won’t be disappointed in how he portrays Sully. Aaron Eckhart was great as the co-pilot and Laura Linney in a small part did her typical excellent job.

Sully is an emotionally satisfying film that will capture your attention from the first scene until the last. If for some reason you have missed it, go see it. My only recommendation would be not to watch it prior to taking an airline trip – especially one out of LaGuardia.

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