Surprisingly, this movie was not what I thought it would be. I definitely thought it would be about a girl who was overweight, not confident in herself, but always wanted to do pageants. This would be her chance. Not what this movie was about.
Willowdean Dickson (Danielle Macdonald) is a thick Texas teen with a much thinner mom, Rosie (Jennifer Aniston) who’s won beauty queen competitions since she was a teen. Tough shadow to live in when everyone knows in town knows your mom for being the pageant queen. The only person who understood her was her aunt, Lucy. Lucy passed so we only get to see flashbacks of young Willowdean, Aunt Lucy and her best friend, El at their Dolly Parton parties. Side note: I found like I know a lot more Dolly Parton than I gave myself credit for. To make a point, Will decides to enter the pageant her mother has been in charge of for the past couple of years in order to sabotage it. So her, her best friend, and two misfits from school enter the competition. Fun and games start now!
This movie features one of my favorite things, drag queens! Harold Perrineau is such a versatile actor and he does it again as the drag queen Rhea Ranged. Not the best drag name but we’ll go with it. Perrineau’s character knew Will’s aunt Lucy and bridges a gap in her grief, a gap her mother hasn’t help her fill. His character also serves as a source of entertainment and teaches the misfits what it means to be confident in your own skin, using what God gave you to present yourself to the world.
There were two things that I absolutely loved about this movie (I’m sure I’ll think of more reasons as I type this review). One, this was not the typical movie where the big girl likes a guy who either doesn’t like her or we end up waiting the entire movie to find out that he likes her and she, nor he, never knew that they could be a couple (We’ll talk about Sierra Burgess in a later post). Her love interest has liked her the whole movie and I loved that about this film. I hated that she didn’t understand why he liked her but there had to be some conflict with the boy.
The second thing I loved about this film was the fact that Will and her mom didn’t know that the common link between them was Lucy. We as the viewer didn’t even get that! I know what you’re saying, “Duh, Amber. They are all related. Who wouldn’t know that this is their common bond”. No, no, I get that but they had been at odds for so long they didn’t even think about the love and grief they shared for Lucy. There is a great scene in the movie where Rosie discovers that Lucy had filled out a pageant application but never entered. Instead, she made sure Rosie was the bell of the ball for her pageant by helping her alter an old dress she’d found.
Now there was the fight she had with her best friend that basically led her to her other new friends. Ehhh….I’ll take it. Needed conflict there and to add in the misfits in a meaningful way but I forgot all about the girl until the end.
I can’t say enough good things about this movie. Netflix has done it again. And the ending? You will not see it coming but pay attention.
Watch it. It’s on Netflix. Steal a password if you have to.