Dumplin': Danielle Macdonald is the sassy, smart and beautiful heroine we deserve
Dumplin' tells the story of the big-bodied Willowdean Dickson who is trying to get out from her beauty queen mother Rosie's shadow
2018 has been the year of badass female leads who are all about body positivity and empowerment, and Netflix is seriously revving it up with a lot of their original films. Take the December 7 release Dumplin’ for example, the movie is about the big-bodied Willowdean Dickson, Dumplin’ to her mama, played brilliantly by Danielle Macdonald.
While the story is niche, that of a young woman insecure about her body trying to get out from her beauty queen mother Rosie’s (Jennifer Aniston) shadow, it is also very global. In this age of body positivity and self-love, we all struggle with moments of insecurity that jump up on us when we least expect it.
Macdonald is the perfect actor to take on this role too, without actually being the "Joan of Arc of fat girls", as Dumplin’ perfectly puts it in the trailer. The Australian actress is best known for her role as Patti in the 2017 drama ‘Patti Cake$’ which saw her as an overweight aspiring rapper who faces many challenges along the way to her destiny.
A favorite at the Sundance Film Festival that year, ‘Patti Cake$’ really saw the underdog in Macdonald shine, and despite a predictable story, it was her genius that shined through. In the film, we see her metaphorically crowd surf over her gang of misfit friends who emotionally support her throughout her journey. Macdonald brought the perfect blend of vulnerability and confidence to the character that leads us to believe Dumplin’ will be no different.
In the Netflix movie based on the 2015 Julie Murphy book of the same name, Dumplin’ is a complicated mix of confidence and insecurity. As someone who is unaffected by her mother’s beauty pageant success, and refuses to be made to feel less than for her brand of beauty, she feels the first bout of insecurity when she is met with a romantic interest. It is in fact the handsomeness of the man who is interested in her that makes her feel unworthy.
As she struggles with the thoughts of what others will say, Willowdean realizes that she needs to combat these emotions herself. In order to prove to herself that she is worthy of everything that the world has to offer, including the young man’s love, she competes in Miss Teen Blue Bonnet Pageant, much to the dismay of her mother who still has a reputation to maintain.
Despite her mother’s disapproval, Dumplin’ becomes an inspiration to many a woman of all body types, more or less defeating the purpose of these pageants. During the course of this journey, though, she learns that pageantry isn’t as easy as she thought it would be, especially when one of her biggest competitions turn out to her best friend.
Dumplin is inspiring and empowering, a story of hard work and conviction of a young woman whose only struggle with her weight is that she wants to learn how to accept it. She does not want to fit into anyone’s box of what is perfect, she does not be defined by anyone else’s idea of beauty, nor does she want to be popular or get revenge on the people who hurt her.
After numerous stories that basically say fat to fab = revenge (read 'Insatiable') and that not fitting in gives you the right to catfish (read Sierra Burgess is a Loser), we totally deserve a Dumplin’ who is only concerned with herself and being happy about who she is.