‘Dumplin’ Adaptation: A Good Time Netflix Comedy


Some of the adaptations that make their way to Netflix are movies I watch the week they release. Dumplin’ is one I didn’t see immediately, but finally I sat down to watch, and while I don’t know how it works as an adaptation, it’s a cute film.

Dumplin’ (2018) Netflix Review

In the small Texas town she calls home, Willowdean Dickson doesn’t have any friends. But it’s okay because her aunt, the woman who raises her, is her greatest champion, all while her former beauty pageant mother (Jennifer Aniston) tries to recapture her glory days. Time passes, and with it, the death of Willowdean’s aunt. Older now, Willowdean (Danielle MacDonald) is okay because her aunt left her the best gift, a best friend named Ellen (Odeya Rush); the kind of friend who stands by Willowdean through thick and thin.

As her mother prepares for a new pageant season as director of their town’s event, Willowdean discovers something she never knew about her aunt. This inspires her to enter the pageant, an institution Willowdean despises as a way to honor her aunt, and change the way people see her, too.

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Certain things about this film follow precisely the path I’d anticipate, and others surprise me in a way that improves the story as a film. Watching this makes me realize that one of my own opinions and philosophies in life is further enforced by Willowdean. We are our own worst enemy.

Much to my surprise, it’s Willowdean herself who holds herself back. Those closest to her don’t belittle or think less of her. In reality, her own mentality is what holds her back. This is true of her relationship with her friend; true of her relationship with her mother; and even so in her interaction with a cute guy who might be more than just a cute guy. She’s judging herself where no one else is, and to see this in a mainstream film is really interesting as it’s a philosophy I’ve had as an adult for a while now.

Another thing I really like about this is that Willowdean’s mother, Rosie, isn’t the enemy. Instead, the space between them is as a result of no communication which is sad, but also not uncommon in other stories. While not everything is perfect for them by credits end, I think the feeling is that these two will be okay. It’s these truths that leave the viewer with a smile, and of course, plain and simple, the pleasure of having enjoyed a good time Netflix movie.


‘Dumplin’ Adaptation: A Good Time Netflix Comedy. Review of the 2018 adaptation of the novel by Julie Murphy. Text © Rissi JC
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Content: There’s some innuendo,mild profanity, but mostly, the film doesn’t abuse its TV-14 rating. [The girls do to a drag queen bar, references to feeling insecure with a boy, etc.]

About Rissi JC

amateur graphic designer. confirmed bookaholic. bubbl’r enthusiast. critical thinker. miswesterner. social media coordinator. writer.

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