The first thing you should know about Dumplin ‘ , one of Netflix additions for 2019, is that it is NOT a romantic comedy. But, how come?, there is Jennifer Aniston, the lead character is an overweight girl, and there is a beauty contest. That all sounds like a romantic comedy, right?
No, Dumplin’ is a film that goes beyond the romantic flick and tries to explore the concept of identity in a rather peculiar way. But, is this peculiarity enough to be cataloged as a good addition to the Netflix library? Is it worth seeing? The answers, coming up next.
1 ^ Recap (No Spoilers)
Willowdean Dickson (Danielle Macdonald) is a teenager who attempts to live according to the style of her deceased aunt Lucy (Hilliary Begley), uncomplicated, light, and above all satisfied with her evident overweight.
However, the attitude of Rosie Dickson (Jennifer Aniston), her mother, a woman devoted to local beauty contests, reminds Willowdean that she does not live up to typical beauty standards, including the nickname she is given: Dumplin’.
As a sign of self-sufficiency, as a tribute to her aunt and as a twinge of annoyance to Rosie, Willowdean decides to enroll in the beauty contest run by her mother. However, what initially seems like a revolution to Willowdean, soon becomes a difficult journey of self-discovery and identity search.
2 ^ Pluses
First, the strong premise on which it is based. Obviously, many films, such as IT, have a premise that deals with the concept of identity and the challenge of growing up. But in Dumplin’ the premise is much more specific and permeates every layer that director Anne Fletcher assigns to this film.
Likewise, the choice of the cast is impeccable. JK Rowling once claimed that the best Harry Potter actress is one who did not have to act, because she WAS the character. And in this movie it seems that nobody has to act because they ARE all his characters.
From Aniston with its past as a declining star; going through the atypical girls, trying to get a place in the world, even handsome guys who try not to look stupid, all fit.
Also, to highlight the choice of Dolly Parton as a point of reference for the film, which could be risky (some might see it as blatant advertising) but that in general contributes to the southern environment of the story.
3 ^ Minuses
Well, in addition to the misleading advertising, I would highlight how unassuming the director was in printing a more real touch to the film. The picture is too shiny and bright for a story like this, which needed a visual touch more similar to Juno, than to High School Musical. The awards would have been guaranteed.
In addition, the film suffers from the common disorder of predictability. Very common disorder in films based on young-adult books. It is noted that the writer tries not to reveal so quickly how the movie is going to end, but by mid-movie the viewer is already able to guess the ending, with little chance of failing.
4 ^ Significance
Now, the message of this film goes through the powerful premise it promotes – what is the place where I fit? Is it a place where I feel comfort? Or is it a place where I feel happiness?
Many times we confuse tranquility and satisfaction with happiness, perhaps hiding behind self-imposed walls to try to be calm, to avoid being judged for what we really are.
But this film raises the real possibility that happiness is outside of that small micro-universe that we create daily, and that perhaps being exposed to judgments and scrutiny makes us reveal which is that place in which we feel happy, by revealing what we really are.
A story with message even more powerful than the frame in which it is contained. Completely recommended.