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THE WEEK'S FILM PICKS BY TIMES CRITICS

April 15, 1990|Michael Wilmington

THE DRESSMAKER

Adapted from a Beryl Bainbridge novel, beautifully acted, full of grimness and irony, this home-front British movie is set in Liverpool in 1944. It imprisons us in one of those terrible claustrophobic households we get in plays by Harold Pinter or Tennessee Williams: veined with dark secrets, buried hatreds and fears, where propriety battles sexuality and both lose. It's a bleak view made exhilarating by the acting, especially by Joan Plowright and Billie Whitelaw as very different sisters engaged in a moral war over their niece (Jane Horrocks).

Sunday, KOCE at 8 p.m.; KCET at 9 p.m.

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