December 14, 2018

What 'Dumplin's' Strategic Use of Dolly Parton Music Can Teach Indie Filmmakers

By now, you’ve probably seen or heard something about Netflix’s new movie, ‘Dumplin’.

The feel-good drama, Dumplin’, released on Netflix on Dec. 7, tells the story of 17-year-old Willowdean (played by PATTI CAKE$ breakout star Danielle Macdonald). She’s a big girl in a small Texas town where her mother Rosie (Jennifer Aniston) is a former pageant queen and something of a local celebrity.

At the story’s opening, Willowdean is mourning the death of her beloved aunt, who taught her confidence in the face of body-shaming bullies and also instilled a love of country music legend Dolly Parton. Willowdean and her best friend Ellen (Odeya Rush) rely on Parton’s uplifting songs and pithy life advice to get them through most of their teenage angst, including when they decide to join Rosie’s pageant as an act of protest against their town’s superficial and conservative values. The girls, joined by fellow misfits Millie (Maddie Baillio) and Hannah (Bex Taylor-Klaus), get some beauty-pageant help along the way from Dolly drag queens, all while delighting in the songstress’ music.

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Source: NoFilmSchool