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Dumplin' is a 2018 American coming-of-age comedy film directed by Anne Fletcher and written by Kristin Hahn. It is based on the young adult novel of the same name by Julie Murphy. The film stars Danielle Macdonald as Willowdean "Dumplin'" Dickson, Jennifer Aniston as her mother, Rosie Dickson, and Odeya Rush as her best friend, Ellen Dryver.

Dumplin film poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byAnne Fletcher
Produced byMichael Costigan
Kristin Hahn
Trish Hofmann
Mohamed AlRafi
Jennifer Aniston
Screenplay byKristin Hahn
Based onDumplin'
by Julie Murphy
StarringDanielle Macdonald
Jennifer Aniston
Music byDolly Parton
CinematographyElliot Davis
Edited byEmma E. Hickox
Echo Films
COTA Films
Distributed byNetflix
Release date
  • December 7, 2018 (2018-12-07) (United States)
Running time
110 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$13 million[1]


Willowdean Dickson is nicknamed "Dumplin" by her mother, Rosie, and "Will" by everybody else. She spends much of her childhood primarily raised and taught by her Aunt Lucy, who introduces Will to Ellen Dryver, who becomes her best friend. Lucy instills a love of Dolly Parton and self-confidence in Will, but six months before Will and Ellen start their final year of high school, Lucy dies. Rosie is a past beauty queen and celebrity in their small, Texan town. Will is often faced with confusion when people find out Rosie is her mother, due to Will's more heavyset figure. Due to her mother's various time commitments, Will doesn't spend much time with Rosie who is dependent on Will to accompany her to various events. Will finds pageant season - a big event in their town - a ridiculous hoopla, and finds her mother's participation as pageant judge and the emphasis on beauty as overemphasized and doesn't participate in or encourage either. Rosie remains a judge on the town's annual Miss Teen Bluebonnet Pageant every year, an event girls in town start preparing for months in advance. Following Lucy's death, Rosie finds difficulty connecting with Will who is resentful and embarrassed by her mother's world.

On Will and Ellen's first day of school, Will is suspended after defending another overweight girl, Millie Mitchellchuck, from a bully. Following this, Will accuses Rosie of being resentful of Will for her looks and is upset when Rosie insinuates that Lucy would still be alive if she had taken better care of her health. After finding Lucy’s application to try out for the Miss Teen Bluebonnet Pageant when she was 16, Will decides to try out in an act of a "protest in heels". After Will signs up, Millie - who is enthusiastic and pitied by Will - decides to sign up as well. Hannah Perez, an edgy feminist at their school, also signs up. Rosie interprets Will's application as a mockery of the pageant industry, and warns Will that pageants are harder than she thinks. In preparation for the pageant, Will stubbornly refuses to participate and is angry and jealous of Millie and Ellen's willingness to do so. After telling Ellen to quit, the pair fight, with Ellen upset that Will is so untrusting of her.

Bo, who works with Will at their local diner, asks Will out to watch a meteor shower. The pair connect, and they kiss. When he harmlessly touches her back, she panics, and leaves abruptly. Rosie begins to mentor Bekah Colter, the pageant frontrunner whose mother is less supportive of her and reveals she's going to ask Bo to Sadie Hawkins. After finding a flyer in Lucy's belongings, Will, Millie, and Hannah visit a Dolly Parton themed drag biker bar that Lucy frequented. She meets a performer named Lee Wayne who was a close friend of Lucy’s, and feels fulfilled by the experience. However, during talent tryouts, Will's choice of performing a magic trick goes poorly, despite promising to practice. Bo later confesses his feelings to Will, but she is quick to question the legitimacy of them, wondering why a good looking guy like him would like her, and claims that they won’t work together in the real world. He's confused as to why she doesn't take his feelings seriously, and reveals he declined Bekah's offer to go to the dance. He accuses her of being a coward and too focused on what others think. Will starts purposefully missing the pageant meetings in which Lee is coaching her and her friends. After discovering a brooch of Lucy's she'd been looking for, she is inspired and decides to take the pageant seriously.

At the preliminary event, Rosie is touched and impressed by Will's speech about loyalty, which results in her making up with Ellen. At home, Rosie and Will reconcile over memories of Lucy, where Rosie reveals it was Lucy who instilled the sense of perfectionism in her. At the pageant, Millie's mother confronts her about lying about her involvement, but Millie's friends have her stand firm about her participation. Will performs a Dolly Parton tribute with her magic tricks, and is a success with the crowd. Millie performs a Christian song, which is also a success. While Rosie is overwhelmed with pride, she is forced to disqualify Will due to costume and song modifications made without her approval, and in order not to be seen as making an exception for her daughter. After Ellen's boyfriend is unable to escort her for the formal wear presentation, Will does so, as no rule prohibits a disqualified contestant from escorting a participating one. Bekah wins the pageant queen title as expected, but Millie is awarded first runner up to everyone's surprise and joy. Will leaves and reconciles with Bo, and the two share a kiss. The movie ends with Will and her friends taking Rosie and Millie's mother to the bar where Aunt Lucy brought so much joy to everyone.


Dumplin' author Julie Murphy makes a cameo as a patron at the drag bar.


On March 15, 2017, Jennifer Aniston was announced in the cast of Dumplin', playing Rosie Dickson, the mother of Dumplin'.[2] On June 13, 2017 Danielle Macdonald joined Aniston, in the lead role.[3] On August 15, 2017, Odeya Rush was also cast in the film to play Ellen "El" Dryver, Willowdean's best friend, who creates difficulties when she tries to enter the beauty pageant along with Will.[4] On August 21, 2017, Dove Cameron, Luke Benward, Bex Taylor-Klaus, Maddie Baillio, Georgie Flores, and Ginger Minj joined the cast of Dumplin.[5]

Principal photography on the film began on August 21, 2017, in Covington, Georgia and ended in October.[6]


In September 2018, Netflix acquired distribution rights to the film.[7] It was released on December 7, 2018.[8]


On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, Dumplin' holds an approval rating of 85% based on 59 reviews, with an average rating of 6.5/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Elevated by a solid soundtrack and a terrific cast, Dumplin' offers sweetly uplifting drama that adds just enough new ingredients to a reliably comforting formula."[9] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 53 out of 100, based on 16 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[10]


Award Date of ceremony Category Recipient(s) and nominee(s) Result Ref(s)
Critics' Choice Movie Awards January 13, 2019 Best Song Nominated [11]
Georgia Film Critics Association January 12, 2019 Best Original Song Nominated [12]
Golden Globe Awards January 6, 2019 Best Original Song Nominated [13]
Guild of Music Supervisors Awards February 13, 2019 Best Song/Recording Created for a Film Nominated [14]
Best Music Supervision for Films Budgeted Under $25 Million Buck Damon Nominated
Hollywood Music in Media Awards November 14, 2018 Best Original Song – Feature Film Dolly Parton and Linda Perry for "Girl in the Movies" Nominated [15]


The soundtrack, released on November 30, 2018, features songs either written or recorded by country star Dolly Parton. Parton performs on every song on the album and wrote six of the 12 tracks exclusively for the film, with the remaining six being re-recordings of some of Parton's earlier hits, including a string version of "Jolene". Joining Parton on the soundtrack are Elle King, Miranda Lambert, Mavis Staples, Alison Krauss, Rhonda Vincent, Sia, Macy Gray, Willa Amai and the film's stars Aniston and Macdonald.


  1. ^ Sperling, Nicole. "Dumplin' Director Anne Fletcher Switches from Studio Films to Netflix". HWD.
  2. ^ McNary, Dave (16 March 2017). "Jennifer Aniston to Star in Teen Comedy 'Dumplin''". Retrieved 27 October 2017.
  3. ^ "'Patti Cake$' Breakout Danielle Macdonald Joins Jennifer Aniston in 'Dumplin'". Retrieved 27 October 2017.
  4. ^ N'Duka, Amanda (August 15, 2017). "Odeya Rush Joins Jennifer Aniston In 'Dumplin'". Deadline. Retrieved August 16, 2017.
  5. ^ N'Duka, Amanda (21 August 2017). "Dove Cameron, Luke Benward, Bex Taylor-Klaus & More Added To Comedy Film 'Dumplin'". Retrieved 27 October 2017.
  6. ^ N'Duka, Amanda (August 21, 2017). "Dove Cameron, Luke Benward, Bex Taylor-Klaus & More Added To Comedy Film 'Dumplin'". Deadline. Retrieved August 21, 2017.
  7. ^ Kit, Borys (September 12, 2018). "Netflix Lands Jennifer Aniston Dramedy 'Dumplin''". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved September 12, 2018.
  8. ^ "Dolly Parton & Sia's 'Here I Am' from 'Dumplin'' Released". Film Music Reporter. September 14, 2018. Retrieved October 16, 2018.
  9. ^ "Dumplin' (2018)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved December 10, 2018.
  10. ^ "Dumplin' (2018) reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved December 12, 2018.
  11. ^ "Critics' Choice Awards 2019: The Complete List of Nominations". E! Online. December 10, 2018. Retrieved December 10, 2018.
  12. ^ "Georgia Film Critics Association Announces Film Nominations". Retrieved January 8, 2019.
  13. ^ "Golden Globe Nominations: Complete List". Variety. December 6, 2018. Retrieved December 6, 2018.
  14. ^ Brandle, Lars (January 10, 2019). "'A Star Is Born,' 'Bohemian Rhapsody' Among Guild of Music Supervisors 2019 Nominees: Exclusive". Billboard. Archived from the original on January 10, 2019. Retrieved January 10, 2019.
  15. ^ Yang, Rachel (October 16, 2018). "'Black Panther', 'A Star Is Born' Lead 2018 Hollywood Music in Media Awards Nominees". Variety. Retrieved October 16, 2018.

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