Dumplin' is the new Jennifer Aniston movie from Netflix written by actress Kristin Hahn (that was nice to see) and directed by Anne Fletcher. Based on the novel of the same name by Julie Murphy, Aniston stars as a former prom queen mother and Danielle MacDonald as her not-so-beauty-queen rebellious, plus-size, no make up, no high fashion teenage daughter Dumplin' who has always felt left on the sidelines of her mothers world of beauty pagent perfection. Being kick-named Dumplin' time and time again by her ever-so-perfect mother continues to take its toll on Dumplin. When delivered by a beautiful, poised, publically-adored mom (who can't seem to remember that Dumplin' is not her name) hits even harder on her self-esteem. This ever present feeling permeates everyday life so exaserbated, frusrated and feeling not-good-enough, no-fuss Dumplin' decides to play a fast one and join a pagent herself that her mothers oversees.
The film is set in Texas where Willowdean (‘Dumplin’) signs up for her the Miss Teen Bluebonnet pageant where her mother remains a rock star years later, as a protest. Other plus size and off-beat contestants then follow her footsteps, revolutionizing the pageant. The cast is rounded out by Odeva Rush and Dove Cameron who play other contestants. The film has a sweet message; including that plus-size-is no-size to matter anymore and you can be who you are even if you feel like an outcast.
The screening for critics for this one was a nice touch here in L.A. The music in the film is sung by Dolly Parton and Dolly references are throughout as a running theme, so the marketers brought in Dolly for critics to the Four Seasons Hotel to sing one of the songs in the movie along with the screening. Nice touch. Dolly is a legend. and We all appreciated the shot performance. Seeing the legend in a close intimate setting as such was lovely. Looking around the room as she sang, all I could see where smartphones recording. It was a complete sea of phones as critics wanted to capture this rare up-close moment. (By the way, Dolly Parton looks incredible up close. And I was in the first chairs surrounding her microphone stand. She is absolutely beautiful inside and out) The movie itself - nice story but a very small movie. Should play well in Texas. Excellent acting by Aniston, you truly beleive she is a former prom queen the moment she shows up in the first frame. You forget it is Jennifer Aniston by the end of that first frame.