Dumplin’ Review

A review of the latest Netflix original film


Dumplin’ stars Jennifer Aniston and Danielle Macdonald

In the midst of sequels and remakes, it is hard to find an original story, especially in the lighthearted genres of romantic comedy and coming of age films. Netflix has recently released numerous original contemporary films and “Dumplin’” has joined their ranks. Actors Jennifer Aniston and Danielle MacDonald headline the film.

10/10 Plot

Willowdean Dixen is a plus-sized teenager and the daughter of a beauty queen. She lives in a Texas town where the Miss Blue-Bonnet beauty pageant is everything. After role model and aunt Lucy Dixen dies, Willowdean becomes fed up with the attitude people show towards her and her body, especially from her mother, who she feels like sees her as not good enough. She decides to enter the beauty pageant with her best friend, Ellen Dyer and a few other town misfits. With the help of some drag queens and Dolly Parton, they show the town that anyone can be a beauty queen.

Adapted from the book “Dumplin” by Julie Murphy, the movie plot does leave out few events, overall it does an incredible job of remaking the novel. In the movie, Willowdean is pursued by southern beau, Bo Larsen, however, the movie did not focus on the romance. They could have easily manipulated it into being her motivation as many romantic comedies do. They let the characters have internal motivations that are realistic and believable.

6/10 Characters

The characters in “Dumplin’” are the stock versions of originality, while they are not the Barbie doll characters we often see in contemporary films, they do lack the kind of well-roundedness in a loveable character. They seem like every character that is created to be different. Their individuality is their personality, the edgy girl is against the patriarchy, the religious girl is sheltered and naive, the plus-sized girl acts self-confident but is really not. While the characters did not feel original, they did get the job done creating an enjoyable movie and a much needed message of self-love.

10/10 Score

Aunt Lucy introduces young Willowdean and Ellen to Dolly Parton and in true fashion, the score of the movie is in all of her music, including songs like “9 to 5” and “Dumb Blonde.” The influence of Dolly Parton is all throughout the movie. Willowdean is always sporting red shoes in another sort of ode to Dolly Parton. Her music builds relationships between Willowdean and Ellen. The music is also Willowdean’s way of connecting to the late Lucy. The score allows the audience to relate with the characters. Dolly Parton was an advocate for self-love and having her music as the focus just supports the theme of the movie.

7.5/10 Overall

The characterization fell short, but the characters did not feel out of place, just plain. The score was masterfully chosen to build the message. In its entirety, “Dumplin’” was an enjoyable film with a great message; everyone is beautiful.