Not because it was sad, but because it was everything I’ve been wanting to see on my TV. Finally, something got body positivity right. Right enough that I’ll forgive the fact that Dolly Parton didn’t make a cameo.
Girl in the Movies
Body positivity is in. We all follow Iskra and Jameela Jamil on Instagram, right? And this trend has bled into TV and movies as well. This year we saw Sierra Burgess is a Loser, Insatiable, and a bunch of others I can’t think of right now, but I’m sure they exist. And to be honest, a lot of them got it wrong. Chubby girls don’t want people to like and respect them in spite of their weight, but because of it. Actually, let me rephrase: we all want people to like us, respect us, and value us as we are – including our biggest insecurities. I’m more than my weight. I’m more than the speckling of blackheads that will always hang out on my nose. And I’m more than my weird little slug toes (I have very short toes and I’m not ashamed of them!). And Dumplin’ brings that to life.
Not once did it make a joke at the expense of the fat girl, or the girl with the bad teeth, but it definitely made jokes about the unnecessary effort we put into concealing these things, i.e. Rosie and her obsession with fitting into her old dress. Willowdean, Millie, and Hannah (still very sad they cut Amanda!!) were true to themselves at every moment, like it or not.
And in the end, Willowdean didn’t have to change a thing about herself to get the guy, overthrow stereotypes, and make some amazing new friends. Sure, she doubted herself at times, but we all need a little help from our friends (and some drag queens) at one point or another. I don’t want to see one more movie that features a normal, perfectly good-looking person getting a life-changing makeover. Not after watching this.
It was an adaption done right.
For the Good Times
Beyond having an incredibly important message, this movie was just fun. Jennifer Aniston was perfection, any scene that included a drag queen or three made me want to dance and lip sync, and the friendships formed by these girls made me long for high school or college and the bonds you form then. And I can’t think of anything else that made me want to go back to high school…that doesn’t happen.
Similar to Dumplin’ the book, you walk away from this movie just feeling good. It’s a heartwarming story that leaves you feeling empowered and with the urge to get out there and do something crazy. Enter a pageant. Buy a bikini. Go out without makeup. Something that scares you, but in the end helps you embrace who you are. We’ve all got flaws and we’re all terrified that someone will notice them. Realistically, we’re all too caught up in our own shit to notice anyone else’s. I guarantee the day you spend ten minutes rather than a half hour on your makeup will be the day you get a million compliments. That tends to be how it works. Channel Willowdean and do what you do with confidence.
I Will Always Love You
I can tell already that Dumplin’ – both the book and the movie – will be pieces of pop culture that I will return to frequently. They’ve been added to my cache of comfort foods – those things you love that you play in the background on a bad day or flip through when you need a pick me up. What I wouldn’t have done for this movie to exist 10 years ago when I really needed it. When I was just a chubby high schooler fumbling around, and it was all just baby fat. I was just trying to make it through, not start a revolution or overthrow the patriarchy.
But, hey, there’s still time. And now I have more inspiration.
Dumplin’ is streaming on Netflix now. Watch it by yourself, watch it with your daughter. Watch it with your son. Watch it with anyone, because we all need a movie like this in our lives.