I watched Dumplin on Netflix yesterday, a film that promises to be a heartwarming depiction of an overweight teenager who enters the beauty pageant run by her mother in order to offer a protest to an intolerant society and the former-beauty-queen-mom who has long ignored her.
The film starts off in promising fashion, or at least it does if you are willing to set aside the ridiculousness of a rural Texas town that regularly hosts a Dolly Parton cross-dressing extravaganza.
Nonetheless, the film has a fatal flaw: beauty pageants are not redeemable. The one kid had it right at the beginning when she calls her friends to “Fight the patriarchy!” And there is a lot to fight. This retrograde event actually includes a swimsuit display as part of the program.
Alas, by the time the event rolls, our promising young protesters have all fallen into line, just as the plot requires. And so the pageant ends by becoming more “inclusive” of heavy-set people — Yes folks, fat girls can wear swimsuits too! — as if that is supposed to warm our hearts?
Lame. Lame. Lame.