There have been a slew of fantastic teen flicks on streaming services of late - To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before arrived earlier this year, quickly becoming a modern classic - and now Jennifer Aniston, of all people, is bringing the next.
The Friends star is the creative force behind this delightful coming-of-age tale about a plain Jane, plus-sized, Dolly Parton-obsessed teen girl, Willowdean (played by Aussie actress Danielle Macdonald), who enters a beauty pageant as a way to feel closer to her recently deceased aunty - and to get back at her own “perfect” beauty queen mum, played by Jen.
It’s got all the elements for a fantastic flick - fabulously drawn characters (Macdonald as Willowdean, or ‘Dumplin’ as her mum likes to call her, is a brilliant new talent); a great, believable plot; all the best Dolly Parton hits (and a few extra she wrote especially for the film); and a sweet little romantic side-story that will have every teen heart melting.
The cast is amazing. Newcomer Luke Benward plays Dumplin’s love interest and he has more than a passing resemblance to Brad Pitt - a star is born! It also features Odeya Rush (Ladybird) and RuPaul’s Drag Race’s Ginger Minge, who steals every scene she’s in, and Disney's Dove Cameron.
Jennifer Aniston recently said she was drawn to producing this story, based on the young adult novel by Julie Murphy, because she identified with Willowdean’s own struggles - her own mum, Nancy Dow, was a beauty queen and Jen says she never felt she added up to Dow’s idea of what her daughter should be.
This is a film with real heart - a delight from start to finish and an absolute summer must-see. 4.5 stars.