Dumplin’, Friendship & Growing Up



Directed By: Anne Fletcher

Grade: B+

Dumplin’ is based on the Julie Murphy book of the same name and is showing on Netflix. Which is generally having a good run of YA adaptations. It’s about Willowdean Dixon a plus size girl who as form of protest (and grief) joins her mother’s beloved beauty pageant and inspires several other girls who normally wouldn’t to do the same.

Danielle McDonald as Dumplin'

There is also a whole lot of Dolly Parton, a hero to Willowdean and her late Aunt Lucy. ย I didn’t mind even if several days later I’m still randomly singing 9 to 5. Oddly I like this movie the more I think about it than I did while actually watching it.

Danielle Macdonald and Jennifer Aniston are very good as mother and daughter. I think Macdonald was a little staid at first but she grew into it the more Willowdean got into the pageant and began to deal with her grief.

One of the things I like about Murphy’s writing is no one is an adorable YA Saint and no one really sucks either. Everyone’s just people. Messy. Sometimes mean and judgmental. Sometimes lashing out. But relatable and I think Dumplin does an excellent job with that.

Millie Mackintosh in Dumplin

Actually Millie was pretty adorable and her wide-eyed hope and actual desire to be a pageant girl was well played by Maddie Baillio. She could have been an annoying character or treated like a joke instead I genuinely liked and wanted to be friends with her.

The other thing would have to be Beau. I feel like this relationship was really lacking while watching it. Didn’t care for him at all and other than the fact he likes Willowdean he stays a bit of a cipher.

Willowdean in Dumplin

Who am I complaining there’s not enough relationships?

Yes Beau was a part of Willowdean learning to accept herself and the people around her but he certainly wasn’t the biggest. That was the pageant, her relationship with her mother and the changing of an accepting of her friends and really her accepting herself with them. I bought those things even if I didn’t entirely by the Beau parts.

jennifer aniston in dumplin

The movie and the book also has a great message I really appreciate. I even teared up at parts of the pageant. It also reminds me that I need to finally read Puddin’ as the sequel is all about Millie.

Recommend: Yes.ย If this was in theaters I’d say yes but wait until its on DVD or streaming. It really is the perfect Netflix movie however (I mean that in a good way) so go ahead and give it a go!

20 thoughts on “Dumplin’, Friendship & Growing Up

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  1. I downloaded this movie onto my tablet as soon as it was released last week on Netflix for my travels. Looking forward to watching it next week, glad you enjoyed it. Lovely review! ๐Ÿ˜Š
    PS. So glad to hear Aniston was good in it, sheโ€™s been getting on my nerves a bit recently but I do think she is funny and could do so much better than act in some of the generic roles sheโ€™s been casted into over the last decade or so. ๐Ÿ˜Š

  2. I started watching this and couldn’t agree more – you won’t be able to stop singing 9 to 5 after that! I have yet to finish it but it did sound like a really nice adaptation.
    It made me physically ill to watch Willowdean’s mother interact with her daughter in such a toxic way – but it was so subtle and well done that it never felt like another pageant family drama, which I liked.
    I’m so glad you continue to enjoy it more and more as time goes by! I definitely hope I feel the same way after I’m done ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Oh, I hope you like it as well. I think toward the end they do enough with Rosie… well, I know some Rosies so maybe that’s why but I actually gave her more credit than maybe she deserved. I think it all balances out though.

      1. Ah that’s great, then ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m not saying she’s a bad person, but she definitely made me feel sorry for her daughter! I know there are probably a lot of reasons behind why she is the way she is, though. Which is awesome, because it means she has some depth to her.

  3. Great that this is the kind of movie you like more when you think about it ๐Ÿ˜€ I think that it’s really good that this explores messy characters, rather than just saint vs sinner. It’s great this had such a good message as well. Great review!

  4. I saw this on Netflix the other day. It did look fun!
    Haven’t read the book it’s based on yet, and kind of debating if i should do that first…

    1. I don’t think you need to read the book first but I’m a big fan of Julie Murphy’s contemporaries so I definitely lean toward it in this case. Of course if you like the movie there’s always the book to add to it!

  5. Iโ€™ve been quite reluctant to watch this because Iโ€™ve always found pageantry quite weird, but these girls who compete in them always have a great message to share. Iโ€™ll eventually watch this!

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