Netflix’s acclaimed dramedy celebrates the sassy genius of Dolly Parton
Dolly Parton’s reign as the Queen of Country Music has been (and will remain) uncontested. The proof? The delicious mix of old and new Dolly featured in the Netflix original film Dumplin’.
Following the story of a plus-size teenager, played by Danielle Macdonald, as she enters the beauty pageant world where her mother (played by the leading lady of rom-coms, Jennifer Aniston) reigns supreme, Dumplin’s soundtrack is more than just a soundtrack; it tells the story of a woman with fifty years in the country music world, full of the wisdom, experience, and humor only Dolly can impart. “It’s like she’s in on every joke you could ever tell about her,” Danielle Macdonald’s character, Willowdean “Dumplin’” Dixon, says, encapsulating Dolly Parton in a single sentence.
Featuring dance routines, a Dolly Parton-themed drag biker bar, confidence-boosting pep talks, Dolly classics, a few brand new (but sure to be loved) originals from the sequined, platinum blonde legend, and appearances from friends like Sia, Elle King, Mavis Staples, Macy Gray, and Miranda Lambert, Dumplin’ showcases Dolly Parton’s innate ability to tell a story, whether on a record or the big screen.
Jennifer Aniston is to thank for Dolly’s involvement in Dumplin’. After first requesting the film use a few of Parton’s iconic songs, Aniston went on to ask Dolly to write something new for the film. So Parton did what she does best…and wrote six new tracks. The resulting soundtrack is as glittering and confidence-infused as the singer herself. “I got with [producer] Linda Perry just to write the theme song, and boy, we clicked as musicians and singers and writers. And we just hit it off,” Dolly told Elle.com in an exclusive interview. “As soon as we wrote the theme song, we just went one to another, writing songs. We didn’t even know if some of these would go in the movie or not. I was basing them on the themes and the characters, the feel of the movie. So I knew if they did use ’em, they’d all fit. But anyway, we just kept writing all these great songs because we were loving the process of writing. It was just one of those things that snowballed.”
“I had that kind of wishful thinking back when I was young, wanting to be a star—not necessarily a movie star, I wanted to be a music star. I wanted to be successful. And then when I saw the movie, that little character Willowdean, Dumplin’—her mother affectionately calls her Dumplin’ because she’s overweight—when I saw her little heart, I just pictured her going to the movies, living through other people, dreaming that she might one day could be that,” Parton went on to say. “I came up with that, with all those lines, thinking that that was how she would feel and me pulling from my own life: wanting to be special, wanting to stand up, be counted and to matter. That’s one of my favorite things in the movie, too. I think a lot of people will relate to that little song, don’t you?”
But that’s what Dolly does best, isn’t it? She makes music that anyone can relate to, whether a pageant queen or an outcast, dreaming of stardom. She is unrivaled in her ability and success, yet at her core, she’s one of the most relatable, empathetic songwriters to ever write a lyric or sing a melody.
Shine on, Dolly. Check out the full track listing below, and watch Dumplin’ exclusively on Netflix.
- “Here I Am”
- “Holdin’ On To You”
- “Girl in the Movies”
- “Red Shoes”
- “Dumb Blonde”
- “Here You Come Again”
- “Push and Pull”
- “If We Don’t”
- “Two Doors Down”