“Dumplin’” is the plus-size, teenage daughter of a former beauty queen, who signs up for her mom’s pageant as a protest that escalates when other contestants follow her footsteps, revolutionizing the pageant and their small Texas town.
Cast: Danielle Macdonald (Bird Box, Skin, Paradise Hills, Patti Cake$), Jennifer Aniston (Upcoming Murder Mystery, Horrible Bosses, Marley and Me), Odeya Rush (Lady Bird, Goosebumps), Dove Cameron (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Liv and Maddie, Descendants), Harold Perrineau (Claws, Lost), Bex Taylor-Klaus and Ginger Minj
Director:Anne Fletcher (The Proposal, 27 Dresses)
Screenwriter: Kristin Hahn wrote the adaptation of Julie Murphy’s #1 New York Times bestselling novel of the same name.
Producers: A Cota Films and 50 Degrees Entertainment Presentation – Michael Costigan (American Gangster, A Bigger Splash, Brokeback Mountain, Ghost in the Shell), Mohamed AlRafi (Above Suspicion, Lying and Stealing), Kristin Hahn (The Switch, Cake), Trish Hofmann (Gringo, Get On Up)
Executive Producers: Jennifer Aniston, Danny Nozell
Music: Grammy & Emmy Award Winner and Academy, Golden Globe & Tony Award Nominee Dolly Parton with newly-recorded collaborations of her classic songs in addition to six new original songs co-written by Parton and Grammy Nominee Linda Perry. Special guest vocalists include Sia, Miranda Lambert, Mavis Staples, Elle King, Alison Krauss, Rhonda Vincent, Danielle Macdonald, and Jennifer Aniston.
The movie opens up in retrospect. MacDonald brings a familiar yet off-the-wall sensibility to the title character, who is a fat teenager in a nobody cares and nobody goes suburb in Texas. Her mother, however, a repeat beauty pageant winner, views their town as iconic. “Why Willowdean’ it’s a Texas tradition!” Dumplin’ was raised by her late aunt Lucy and by the music of Dolly Parton. Lucy was more of her speed as far as adults were concerned. Lucy was not glamorously into pageants as her sister Rosie but took a true stake in the little girl’s life, introducing her to Ellen, her best friend forever. Ellen and Will enter to pageant on the terms and conditions of rebellion, they’re attempting to disrupt the pageant and show Rosie a thing or two about inclusivity. One the day of the sign-up, Rosie pulls Willowdean to the side to ask her if she thinks it’s nice to make fun of something that was so serious. Dumplin’ responds like Ruth Bader Ginsberg during her confirmation. She outspokenly asks her mother “Are you saying I’m not good enough to enter?” Shamed into signing onto the revolution, Rosie played by Aniston reluctantly allows her daughter to take part in the competition but firmly warms her, not to expect special treatment.
Access has been granted. But the more Dumplin’ seems to get what she wants, she is still not happy, even attacking Ellen of calling her fat when the reality was that she was reflecting her own emotional state of how she feels about herself onto the situation. Ellen, a true feminist BFF chimes back before walking out of the room, “I NEVER SAW YOU AS FAT FOR YOUR INFORMATION”. Damn. This film graciously touches on the aspect of feminism as far as women shaming other women for looking differently. It is okay that we should all think differently but another type of conversation ensues when we talk about physical body imagery and different women.
The pageant industry along with the entertainment industry has done an amazing job at making teen girls feel like they do not fit in. With this film, we see the closest feminist relationships that exist, mother-daughter duos, battling the exact same issues. There is a scene where Dumplin’ is suspended from school and Rosie comes in a picks her up. In the scene the emotional underlying issue Dumplin’ is struggling with is how her Aunt made her feel better than how her mother makes her feel. Rosie responds that her sister is not here and she is and she is doing what she can. Dumplin’ doesn’t buy it at all and storms off. Her mother tells her not to raise her tone but it wasn’t her tone she didn’t like, it was what she had to say.
Dumplin’ is now playing on Netflix.