"Dumplin" Review: A Protest In Heels

Dumplin is captivating and has a great message: it tells the story of Willowdean Dickson (Danielle Macdonald), the daughter of a former pageant winner that is quite a celebrity in their hometown, in Texas. The story starts a few months after Will’s aunt, Lucy (Hilliary Begley), passed away. They were very close and had the mother-daughter relationship Will never had with her mom, Rosie, portrayed by the always incredible Jennifer Aniston.

Willowdean grew up watching her mom preparing herself for pageants with crazy diets and constant exercises. She never really felt comfortable around her, and even wondered if her mother was ashamed of her for being plus size. However, with Aunt Lucy things were different, from her she learned many things, but most importantly to be comfortable with herself and to completely idolize the singer Dolly Parton, which is a big part of the movie with her song lyrics.

Image Source: IMDb/Bob Mahoney/Netflix

After losing Aunt Lucy, Will doesn’t know what to do and, and not even the support of her best friend Ellen Driver (Odeya Rush), will help her get through the crazy pageant season, which her mother is now organizing. Tired of being called “Dumplin” by her mother (which is a mean nickname to designate a small, fat person) she, and a few other girls that also have a non-standard type of beauty, decide to participate in the pageant, which they define as a “protest in heels” or even a “revolution in heels”.

The movie is definitely a little predictable but that doesn’t stop it from being very captivating, emotional and to have a great message, which many movies and series recently released, such as Insatiable, could not achieve.

Dumplin is a love story: the journey of Willowdean learning to love and accept herself and her body. But the movie is not only that, it presents other great characters alongside Will, such as Millie Michalchuk (Maddie Baillio), the one who doesn’t understand the “revolution” but is probably the most revolutionary character. She is portrayed by the actress as a joyful and enthusiastic person, who is definitely pleasant to watch.

Image Source: IMDb

The movie has a great Texas vibe, and with very convincing accents, the country songs remain even in the drag queen part of the movie, which is one of the most fun parts to watch and enjoy.

Something quite surprising is that since it happens in a pageant surrounding, which is usually portrayed by a lot of women fighting and competing with each other, the movie Dumplin, however, doesn’t focus on that, yet it establishes a sense of friendship and only shows the female characters supporting one another, and being happy by each other’s accomplishments! Willowdean and her group of friends, that she calls the “weirdos”, definitely establish a sense of sisterhood.

Dumplin has a great message for teenage girls, something they need to hear, and even if it is a little predictable it is very important and necessary, since other movies don’t portray this subject of body-positive and acceptance in such a captivating and sweet way. It is a movie to fall in love with the characters, to have a good laugh and a few happy tears at the end.