Last night I watched Dumplin’. I was skimming through the lists on Netflix when this caught my eye. My girlfriend sent me a song from the soundtrack, which is provided by the great Dolly Parton, so I thought of her when I saw it and said I’d give it a watch. It was the best decision in an otherwise gloomy day.
Dumplin’ tells the story of Willowdean, played by Danielle MacDonald. She is the daughter of former beauty pageant queen Rosie Dixon (Jennifer Aniston), and there could not be more difference between the two in looks and personality. Will was much closer to her aunt Lucy who instilled in her a love of Dolly Parton. Will finds a chance to rebel against her mother and all of the skinny girls and bullies at her school by entering the same pageant her mother won all those years ago, while also honoring the memory of her late aunt.
I’m sure you can tell from my brief description above that Willowdean, Will for short, is a big girl. She acts like she doesn’t care, and for the most part she doesn’t, until it comes to her Mom and the boy she likes. She feels like he can’t possibly like her back because of her weight, despite his protests of his love. Constant fights and cold silences fill the space between her and her Mom, usually started by Will because of Rosie’s perceived problem with her daughter’s weight or her use of her childhood nickname, Dumplin’. Will fights with her best friend because of her insecurities about her weight. Elle (Odeya Rush), retorts, ‘I never thought of you as fat’.
While Dumplin’ is a celebration of Dolly Parton, her music and the inspiration she brings to people, it also conveys a message of acceptance…but not in a preachy way, thank God. We are shown that once you have a good group of friends you can gain that confidence to be accepting of yourself. Obviously, the real world is a little tougher than that. Sometimes it can be hard to even look at yourself in the mirror, no matter your size. Dumplin’ does a good job of showing the trials and tribulations it takes to get to your happy place. Even in your happy place there can be dark days. There can be very dark days. It is up to you to seek help and accept help when it is given to you. You are beautiful. I’m a ride. We’re all absolute stunners.
This movie is very emotional so from now on I am going to rate them twice. Once on what I thought of it and once more on whether you should watch it hungover.
Rating: 4.5/5. Loses a half point for not having Dolly make an appearance herself. The drag queens make up for it though.
Hangover: No. Don’t do it to yourself. Totes emosh in the last half an hour.