By Alexis Kominos
Dumplin’, a movie directed by Anne Fletcher, is a heartwarming and positive movie about loving oneself, self acceptance, and friendship. Nothing embodies this more than the quote, “Find out who you are and do it on purpose”. Which comes from Dolly Parton, a prominent singer, actor,
multi-instrumentalist, record producer, author, businesswoman, and philanthropist. This quote, and many others like it serve as a mantra for Willowdean Dickson, the main character in this Netflix original.
Willowdean, (or Will for short) is a teen struggling with her self-image and weight, and the loss of her support pillar, her aunt Lucy, only complicates these problems. She goes on a journey of self-love and meets new friends along the way. She and her friends join a beauty pageant in order to show society that people do not have to be skinny to be beautiful and accepted. Will has a love interest named Bo, and believes that someone like him could not like someone who looks like her. Even though he ends up falling for her personality. Will and her friends turn to drag queens that impersonate Dolly Parton for advice on the pageant and life itself. As the pageant comes to a close, Will does an amazing job and her mother is caught by surprise and is very proud of her.
One section of the pageant was a health and fitness section and Will and her friend Ellen decide to go up together and wear swimsuits that say, “Every body is a swimsuit body”. This message was clear to the judges and the audience and really spoke to many people. Katie Laport, a Junior at Glenelg High School spoke on the meaning of the movie stating, “I thought the movie was good and it was super cool that the girls kept their goal of going to the pageant… I really liked how she encouraged the other girls to join the pageant as well.” After purposefully getting disqualified, Willow kept her spirits up and encouraged others to participate and help her cause. The girls defy society's expectations and rise above the judgment that are constantly thrown at anyone different from the norm.
During the whole movie, Dolly Parton is played for almost every song in the soundtrack. To raise hopes and make the girls more confident about themselves, Parton quotes are constantly being spit out. Will’s aunt would always tell her the Dolly quote, “It’s hard to be a diamond in a rhinestone world”. Will lives by all of these quotes and they speak to the audience because they can relate to any type of person. Kameryn Payne, a Junior at Glenelg says, “I really like all the quotes from Dolly Parton in the movie. There was one that said ‘the difference between winning and losing is all in the details’, and that really spoke to me. The movie did a really good job portraying positivity in loving yourself just the way you are”. All the quotes can relate to anyone in whatever he or she is going through and really makes this film powerful.
The movie has made many people feel better about themselves and created a positive look on body positivity. Many movies have shows a main character who changes themselves either with clothes, or exercise, or makeup, but the characters in Dumplin’ embrace who they truly are and learn to love it themselves. The quote, “Be who you are and do it on purpose” by Dolly Parton is prominent throughout the movie and it clearly sums up what all the women end up doing. They embrace their inner selves and show the world who they truly are. Will and her friends never change for others to impress and live up to society's expectations, instead they figure out who they are and they act like it on purpose.
Dumplin’, a clearly cheesy, heart warming, uplifting movie about friendship, family, and self-love takes over Netflix and stears body positivity in a different direction. Instead of trying to change who they are, the characters are shown to eventually learn to love themselves and become accepted by everyone else. As Dolly Parton said, “We cannot direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails.”