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“Dumplin'”: Book vs. Movie

by Miranda Smith

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If you have a Netflix subscription and you’ve been paying attention, then you’ve probably noticed the new Netflix original movie “Dumplin’”.

“Dumplin’” is about a plus-size teenage girl, Willowdean Dickson, who enters a Texas beauty pageant to prove a point to her ex-beauty-queen mother and revolutionize the way beauty pageants are viewed.

Some people may not realize, but “Dumplin’” was first a book written by Julie Murphy. As someone who is an avid reader and movie watcher, I’m going to compare the two mediums.

No questions asked, I thought both the movie and the book were well written and produced. I do, however, have a little bit of a bias when it comes to books. No matter what anyone tells you, nine times out of ten the book is always better.

In the case of “Dumplin’”, the movie stayed true to a lot of plot points of the book. It did cut out some unnecessary information or slightly changed the way some events occurred, but overall it was well done as a movie.

There are some things, however, that I am disappointed were left out of the movie. For example, Bo Larson’s character is more complex than the movie portrays him to be. We only see the work side of Bo’s life; nothing about his background or home life comes into focus in the movie.

The movie also cuts out a huge chunk of Willowdean and Bo’s relationship. Throughout the story, Willowdean is struggling with the idea of being with Bo because “she doesn’t look like other girls.” By getting rid of the majority of the relationship, the movie is also lessening the effect of what Willowdean is feeling about the situation.

One thing that the movie changed for the better was the character of Willowdean’s mother, Rosie Dickson. Toward the end of the movie, Rosie has somewhat of an epiphany about why her daughter is brave enough to do the pageant. It makes the audience like her character more.

In the book, Rosie Dickson does not experience this realization in the same way. It is not as effective and, therefore, the audience is left feeling as if the relationship between these two remains somewhat uneven.

Next time you’re interested in a movie, check and see if it’s based on a book. You might be surprised how different the two stories really are.

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