Welcome to FrockTalk, the web’s only costume-based movie review site. The goal of Frocktalk is to shed light on the magnificent artistry of costume design in motion pictures. Reviews on this site are written by working costume designers in the entertainment industry – people who know, better than anyone, what it takes to make it all happen. The focus of FrockTalk is not to comment on the big flashy costume dramas, but to call attention to the seemingly ordinary costume design work in film that silently and persuasively moves the audience toward understanding the characters. Costume design for motion pictures is an art form that deserves more recognition than it usually gets. Fancy, pretty costumes do not always equal effective, appropriate costumes. The art of the costume is in letting the audience know who the character is, before the actor even has a chance to open his mouth. Read on, and enjoy. ** CAUTION: ALL REVIEWS CONTAIN SPOILERS! **

Tag Archive for 'ann roth'

From the NY Times: Designer Ann Roth on “Book of Mormon”!

Matt Stone and Trey Parker are at it again!  The creators of South Park have a new musical on Broadway called The Book of Mormon, and they have hired costume legend Ann Roth to design the costumes.  Oscar-winner Roth is best known for her film costumes (The English Patient, Cold Mountain, The Hours, Doubt, Mamma Mia), but here she shares some of her sketches and thoughts about her latest theatrical adventure, The Book of MormonCheck it out here!!  Have a great weekend, everyone!


Julie and Julia

Review Date: 8-16-09
Release Date: 8-7-09
Runtime: 123 min.
Period: Contemporary (2002) and 1949 France – 1961 Connecticut
Costume Designer:  Ann Roth

I love Stanely Tucci.  I went out to dinner with a friend of mine last week, and upon hearing that we had both recently seen Julie and Julia, we exclaimed at the same time, “I love Stanley Tucci!!!”  This is a movie about food goddess Julia Child (Meryl Streep), cubicle mouse Julie Powell (Amy Adams), and the parallels between the lives of the legend and the frustrated woman who wants to be her.  Streep and Adams have garnered rave reviews for their work in this film, and they handily deserve the attention.  I thought the movie was charming and fantastic.  However, I stick by my love of Stanley Tucci – he is an understated hero in this film, and I’ll tell you why.

Oh yes, and Ann Roth did the costumes, so you know already know that they are brilliant.
Continue reading ‘Julie and Julia’

Coming Home

Review Date:  10-23-08
Release Date:  2-15-1978
Runtime:  127 min.
Period: 1968
Costume Designer: Ann Roth

I think maybe it would be worthwhile to do a Hal Ashby retrospective here on Frocktalk.  At minimum, I will hit the big ones, Harold and Maude, Shampoo, Bound For Glory, in addition to Being There, and this incredible film, Coming Home.  Hal Ashby was a great director; he just had a certain knack for getting the best performances out of the best actors, and for making films that haunt, resonate, and entertain.   We lost Hal Ashby twenty years ago, too early, to cancer.  His work lives on forever, and we celebrate his legacy here at Frocktalk.
Continue reading ‘Coming Home’

The Reader

Review Date: 1-9-09
Release Date: 1-9-09
Runtime: 124 minutes
Period: 1958 – 1995, Germany
Costume Designer: Ann Roth
Associate Costume Designer: Donna Maloney

I know, I know.  It’s another Ann Roth-designed movie.  And yes, it’s another WWII/Nazi-themed movie.  But look – this is not a movie about fancy, dazzling costumes, and it takes place well after the war (in 1958 up to 1995), so it is different.  The film, and its costumes (and in some scenes its lack thereof), is certainly something worth discussing.  It was a very satisfying movie to watch, and you won’t be wasting two hours of your life; believe me.
Continue reading ‘The Reader’

The Reader – Interview with Associate Costume Designer DONNA MALONEY

You know, it does look charcoal grey here.  Thanks, Donna!!

You know, it does look charcoal grey here. Thanks, Donna!!

First of all, I loved this movie.  I wanted to know more about it, so I turned to Donna Maloney for some answers.  And man, did I get some good answers!!

Continue reading ‘The Reader – Interview with Associate Costume Designer DONNA MALONEY’


Photos courtesy Miramax – THANK YOU!!!

Review Date: 12-14-08
Release Date:    12-12-08
Runtime: 104 min.
Period: 1964
Costume Designer: Ann Roth

With its talent-heavy cast (Streep! Hoffman!  Adams!  Davis!), and Pulitzer/Tony-winning pedigree, Doubt is a great movie about three people talking in a room.  I mean, from a costume point-of-view, this is a movie where most of the screen time is focused on two or three people at a time, talking.  We spend our time inside a church, a school, the principal’s office.  It’s claustrophobic, it’s disturbing, and it’s wildly entertaining.  I don’t think many other actors but Streep, Hoffman, Adams, and Davis could keep our attention in these circumstances.  This is a play put on the screen, and it is the strength of the actors’ performances that renders the film riveting.
Continue reading ‘Doubt’

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