‘Dumplin’’ is the rebellious comedy we needed

By Maddie Barrett

Based on a 2015 young adult book written by Julie Murphy, “Dumplin’” is a look into a small-town Texan teen’s life. Willowdean Dickson, played by Danielle Macdonald, is the daughter of a former beauty queen, Rosie, who is played by Jennifer Aniston.

Willowdean was taught by her idolized aunt to worship Dolly Parton, while also loving herself.  According to her late aunt, although the world’s beauty pageant standards don’t match up with Dickson’s larger frame, she should appreciate who she is.

After Dickson’s wisdom-filled aunt passes away, Willowdean decides to join the local pageant her mother directs, in spite of Rosie’s blatant disapproval. Rosie attempts to dissuade  Willowdean, by claiming her daughter isn’t right for the competition.

What sets this coming-of-age comedy apart is Willowdean’s attitude toward herself. Instead of self-deprecating thoughts and wishing she was popular or skinny, Dickson is comfortable in her skin.

Rosie leaves Willowdean salads in the fridge and fawns over contestants in the pageants, treating them as her own daughters. Throughout the story, Willowdean’s agitation towards her mother grows and leads her into making the decision to join the pageant.

When Rosie becomes aware of her daughter’s contest entry, she expresses her annoyance at the situation.

“I will not have you make a mockery of me or this institution,” Rosie said.

Willowdean continues to enter the competition after her mother’s reluctant signature to her permission sheet and confidently strides her way into the auditions.

“Dumplin’” was released December 7 on Netflix.