Review: Dumplin’

19 December 2018

I am only new to Netflix, but the much-anticipated Netflix Original Dumplin’ has already made my subscription more than worth it. Based on the novel of the same name by Julie Murphy, the critically acclaimed film is set in small-town Texas, and is not only entertaining but important.

Protagonist Willowdean ‘Dumplin’ Dickson, played by Danielle Macdonald, is the overweight teen daughter of a former beauty queen, played by Jennifer Aniston. Willowdean enters the annual beauty pageant run by her mother, to protest against societal female beauty standards and the over-emphasis pageants and her mother place on them.

Despite tackling some heavy-hitting issues and giving an insight into the world of pageants, this film primarily works around the themes of family, friendship and belonging. It is funny, charming, inspiring and touches the heart.

The beautiful soundtrack is courtesy of Dolly Parton, and showcases not only some of her older classics, but some new music specifically for this film. It is fitting to have a powerful country musician providing the soundtrack to a powerful country film, and each song was either written or recorded by Dolly. While I was somewhat disappointed that there was no Dolly cameo, I was so impressed by the way she was made present throughout the entire movie. Not only were her singing and musical gifts shared throughout the film, but her powerful outlook on life and her strength as a woman became a core aspect of the movie’s plot, despite her physical absence. Even if you are not as much of a Dolly Parton fan as I, you will be able to appreciate her place within the story.

Also featuring on the film’s soundtrack is film star Jennifer Aniston. In my opinion, Jennifer Aniston can truly do no wrong, and her role in this film and contribution to the soundtrack were no exception. Her acting is heartfelt and natural, as it has been across her entire career, and during her promotional tour she explained that she cried after singing in front of Dolly Parton for the soundtrack –  despite all of her success, even Jen can become starstruck and overwhelmed.

This movie is one that needs to be watched. While it may have its predictable moments, as most coming-of-age movies do, it is still filled with unexpected twists, and I feel is one of the best movies that has come out this year. I adored the cast, the acting, the witty one-liners, the storyline, the soundtrack and the morals it put forward.

If you are looking for something to watch on Netflix, be sure to give Dumplin’ a chance.

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