And here begins my ‘Women in Film’ project and so far it has been a ball! Films about women, written by women, directed by women from all sorts of backgrounds. I’ve been indulgent to add Australian films to my ‘to be watched’ list – and maybe I’m a bit of a patriot but they are pretty stellar films. And guess what? All films are based on literature – two books and a graphic novel – so I’m fulfilling the bookish side to this blog.
The Dressmaker (2015)
Let’s start with The Dressmaker, a movie that it seemed everyone had seen in Australia except for me. Even my guy friends were highly recommending it! And I can definitely see why. The Dressmaker is a mix between a dark comedy, revenge story and romance with a period drama flair. With the beautiful Kate Winslet as Tilly the dressmaker returning back to her Australian hometown and the people who spurned her. You will adore Tilly and her beautiful dressmaking skills, Tilly’s mad mother, the flamboyant cop and Liam Hemsworth as the sexy love interest whilst probably hating the townspeople. But also be intrigued by the mystery surrounding the death of a boy that Tilly was blamed for. This movie made me laugh, cry and surprised by a really awesome ending. And now I’m going to read the book the film is based on!
Ghost World (2001)
If you enjoy quirky, dark comedies about growing up – Ghost World is definitely for you. Ghost World is about two girls who have recently graduated from high school who one day discover an ad in the paper about a man looking for a woman he had met. They set up a date as joke but it turns on them as Enid (the main protagonist) begins to obsess about him. I really liked this film – from Enid’s awesome style to her relationship with Rebecca and Seymour. It was relatable, I still feel in that stage between childhood and adulthood as the two girls do. The characters are both adorable and pathetic – and how feeling lost can really eat you up. This was a wonderful little gem of an indie film and I’m glad I finally got to watch it.
My Brilliant Career (1979)
I only watched this last night actually – but My Brilliant Career is a lovely period film set in the late 1890’s Australian outback about a woman and her desire to be independent and with a career. The movie is both beautiful and depressing – a charming mix. And the photography was gorgeous, capturing both the harshness and lush beauty of the bush. Judy Davis was brilliant as Sybylla (who was also in the Dressmaker) – this wild, idealistic woman with a clever tongue. I also loved the romance between her and Henry Beecham (played by a young, gorgeous Sam Neill. Oh god, that jaw. Those eyes!) If you adore period dramas or even mean to reach out and try Australian movies – I highly, highly recommend My Brilliant Career.