24th Dec2018

‘Dumplin’ Review (Netflix)

by Jak-Luke Sharp

Stars: Danielle Macdonald, Jennifer Aniston, Odeya Rush, Maddie Baillio, Bex Taylor-Klaus, Luke Benward, Georgie Flores | Written by Kristin Hahn | Directed by Anne Fletcher


Willowdean (‘Dumplin’), the plus-size teenage daughter of a former beauty queen, signs up for her mom’s Miss Teen Bluebonnet pageant as a protest that escalates when other contestants follow her footsteps, revolutionizing the pageant and their small Texas town.

Netflix’s recent original effort Dumplin’ is a truly beautiful feel-good film with a delightfully poignant story and energetic cast, that may just hinder on an overdose of sickly intent but succeeds in the conviction of the message it wants to bring forth.

Danielle Macdonald and Jennifer Aniston as Willowdean Dickson and Rosie Dickson respectively, are terrific as the inconspicuous and often loose relationship of daughter and mother. Relatively fresh newcomer Macdonald, recently starring in the likes of Patti Cakes and Lady Bird, puts forth an energetic and emotionally unyielding performance with a wonderfully attractive and endearing role. A real down to earth and effective sense of charismatic and engaging power is felt in a natural presence. A factor that makes the powerful message hit all the more deeply and effectively concerning the didactic thread of the film’s thematic prevalence, of which is the heart and soul of the film.

Aniston is equally impressive. Another notch for the actress in a more dramatic turn – a precedent set from her latest dramatic straight-laced exploits in Cake, The Yellow Birds and now Dumplin’, serving as a producer on both the former and latter projects. Aniston shines in a role that melds small instances of comedic embellishment, with a large concentration on an expressive and elegant dramatic range with thematic threads of often sincere and mature elements. The actress taking an incredibly rich dip in an arc that has significant substance in a core theme of identity; of which are raised in a respectable and engaging manner. Raising questions of social and gender politics reflective of society today and creating and execution of changing our society for the better.

Dumplin’ is available on Netflix now.

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