In this sumptuous tale of Outback revenge, Kate Winslet’s misfit title heroine returns to her drab hometown in early-1950s New South Wales after 20 years away.

She’s soon turning a series of local ugly ducklings into glamorous swans, but her real aim is to expose the town’s dark secrets.

Embracing comedy, melodrama, romance and tragedy, the film is a trifle overstuffed – but its excesses only make it all the more enjoyable.

Judy Davis is fabulous as Tilly’s dotty mother, Hugo Weaving is great fun as a secretly cross-dressing policeman and Liam Hemsworth strikes a note of down-to-earth sanity as a hunky local, while Winslet, stopping the traffic in an array of drop-dead gorgeous dresses, channels the spirit of the era’s screen sirens with voluptuous allure.