Look, there’s no subtle way to do this. I’m going to go ahead and spoil the crap out of The Dressmaker, a ’50s-set dark comedy starring Kate Winslet as a fashion designer who returns to her tiny Australian town years after being run out on a rail for (supposedly) murdering the local bully. (Here’s the trailer.) It came out in the US on Friday, but despite the presence of megastar Winslet, it’s not a particularly high-profile release. Unless I take it upon myself to inform you of the amazingly WTF twist that kicks off the third act, you might never know about it, and that’s unacceptable. Here we go:
Liam Hemsworth drowns in a silo filled with sorghum.
Take a moment.
Let it wash over you.
This movie is fucking bizarre. It may very well be the Winter’s Tale of 2016. It rockets around between five or six different genres like it’s hopped up on amphetamines—one second, Tilly (Winslet) is winning over the townspeople by making them fancy dresses and helping them realize their Inner Glam Selves, and the next a character’s bleeding out on his kitchen floor, his Achilles tendons slashed open by his wife. Ha ha, how quirky, Hugo Weaving’s sheriff character is a crossdresser!… wait, did this movie end with Kate Winslet just lighting the entire town on fire and walking away?”
I’m making The Dressmaker sound a lot better than it is. It might be good if you’re sloshed out of your damn mind, but a sober viewing is just plain exhausting. It is a slow-motion trainwreck of a movie.
But to the Lesser Hemsworth. Liam plays Teddy, a hunky hunky hunk’a burning hunk who, from the first moment Tilly shows back up in town, tries to win him over with his abs and his winning smile and his abs.
(The Dressmaker tries to convince us Kate Winslet is the same age as Liam Hemsworth and Sarah Snook, which is darling. It’s a reverse Jennifer “Middle-aged mother of two” Lawrence situation.)
Tilly’s not having it, not because she doesn’t appreciate a good ab or three, but because she believes she killed her childhood tormentor and is thus cursed. It comes out that Tilly did not in fact little Stewart Pettyman—he killed himself by pretending to be a bull and accidentally slamming his head against a brick wall (stop laughing), and Tilly blocked out the memory because it was so traumatic. Teddy proposes marriage. Tilly accepts, but in the back of her mind she still thinks she’s cursed. They go lounge on the top of a silo for a bit of stargazing. Teddy, in an attempt to get Tilly to admit she’s not cursed after all, jumps into the silo, which he believes is full of wheat. (We saw him jump into it earlier. It’s just a thing people do in this town. “[Jumping off a silo is] for little boys. Dropping into silos, that’s for men!,” Hemsworth tells us. OK. Sure. Australia is weird.)
Except the silo is filled with sorghum, which is less dense than wheat, so Teddy sinks like a stone and drowns. The next scene is Hugo Weaving breaking the news to Teddy’s mother, with Teddy’s developmentally disabled brother protesting in the background: “Nahhhh, Teddy wouldn’t jump into SORGHUM. You know that! Nahhhhh, Teddy wouldn’t jump into that. You can drown in sorghum!”
It’s not supposed to be funny, but it absolutely is. It’s also the peak of Liam Hemsworth’s career to this point. God, when I go, please let me go alongside Liam Hemsworth, drowning in a vat full of sorghum, and put “You can drown in sorghum!” on my tombstone. Amen.