Kate Winslet’s new movie, “The Dressmaker,” is garnering great buzz ahead of its much-anticipated release later this month.
The movie, about a 1950s fashionista who returns to her hometown seeking vengeance after being wrongfully branded a murderer, earned five Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts Awards last year, including one for Winslet. After the film’s premiere at the 2015 Toronto Film Festival, Variety called it “lively and propulsive,” while The Hollywood Reporter praised its “manic energy and straight-up weirdness.”
Still, much of the hype glosses over a surprise queer aspect to “The Dressmaker.” The film features a humorous subplot involving Sergeant Farrat (played by Hugo Weaving), a police officer with a flair for cross-dressing.
Weaving, whose credits include “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy and “The Matrix,” is no stranger to gender-bending on film. In 1994, he starred as Mitzi Del Bra, an Aussie drag queen, in the cult hit, “The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.”
This time around, however, the costumes proved to be a fun challenge. In the film’s production notes, Weaving said, “Everything needed to be grounded in a reality and a truth but at the same time there’s a heightened reality to it, so it’s slightly surreal.”
Noting that the characters are “very specific types,” he added, “A lot of them are larger than life and the costumes need to somehow reflect that.”