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The Dressmaker (1988)

In England during World War II, a repressed dressmaker and her sister struggle looking after their 17-year-old niece, who is having a delusional affair with an American soldier.

Director:

Jim O'Brien

Writers:

Beryl Bainbridge (novel), John McGrath
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Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Joan Plowright ... Nellie
Billie Whitelaw ... Margo
Pete Postlethwaite ... Jack (as Peter Postlethwaite)
Jane Horrocks ... Rita
Tim Ransom ... Wesley
Pippa Hinchley ... Val
Rosemary Martin Rosemary Martin ... Mrs. Manders
Tony Haygarth ... Mr. Manders
Michael James Reed ... Chuck (as Michael James-Reed)
Sam Douglas ... Cpl. Zawadski
Bert Parnaby Bert Parnaby ... Mr. Barnes
Lorraine Ashbourne ... Factory Girl
Mandy Walsh Mandy Walsh ... Factory Girl
Margi Clarke ... Shopwoman
Andrew Moorcroft Andrew Moorcroft ... Butcher's Boy
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Storyline

In England during World War II, a repressed dressmaker and her sister struggle looking after their 17-year-old niece, who is having a delusional affair with an American soldier.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

26 October 1989 (Australia) See more »

Also Known As:

A varrónő See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?


Soundtracks

Pacific 333
(uncredited)
Music by Alain Leroux
Studio G Ltd
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User Reviews

 
austere wartime drama with a strong cast
15 November 2010 | by mjneu59See all my reviews

Two elderly, overprotective sisters in wartime Liverpool are caught in the flux of uncertain times in this subdued but potent drama, adapted from a novel by Beryl Bainbridge. Billie Whitelaw is the more lively and outgoing Margo, while the stern and taciturn Nellie (Joan Plowright) mourns the erosion of traditional values since the onset of the war. In between them is their orphaned teenage niece, a sheltered, plain-looking girl whose naive attachment to an undeserving American GI leads to unexpected tragedy. The outline suggests a more or less routine coming-of-age melodrama, but the relationship between the two elder sisters is more compelling than the troubled teen romance, if only because the role of Wesley (the American soldier) is less a flesh and blood character than a symbol of anti-Yankee sentiment. Director Jim O'Brien paints a convincing portrait of working class England but otherwise keeps a low profile, letting his actors carry the film (a wise decision, with this cast) and maintaining a not incompatible mood of repressed sexual tension and bittersweet nostalgia (more bitter than sweet).


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