User ReviewsReview this title
Damn, Julie Murphy. You wrote every fat girls story. I knew this going into the movie tonight, this cold December night I tucked myself into bed with a box of tissues, some pizza, and my cat. I was prepared. Ready to experience one of my favorite books on the "big screen", not to mention all the Dolly and Jennifer Aniston my heart desired. Well, Julie, I cried the entire time, mission accomplished, job well done. The movie is as bright, delicious, and strong as the book, with a little extra sparkle and zhuzh.
I hope everyone out there takes a minute to think about the fat girl inside of yourself, whatever that means, and think about fondly wishing her luck on her mission to finding out who she is on purpose.
Furthermore, it's great to see a film whose star is not a skinny gal, but in which skinny gals aren't portrayed as horrible people. No one "type" is a jerk, except a couple of rando high school guys, but there are plenty of male characters who are lovely. Most, in fact.
The movie avoids so many tropes typical to all cinema, but especially these Netflix rom-coms.
1) Put-upon outcast goes crazy and does something harmful. I was truly nervous when Will walked into the alteration room and saw all of the pageant dresses. Many other offerings would have had her trash the dresses to teach her mom a lesson or something, but she was so focused on her love of her late aunt, the whole scene ended up being darling.
2) Frustrated/confused love interest takes some meantime action on the side. The guy who was interested in Will never wavered.
3) Speaking of #2, though, the love interest angle wasn't even the most important one. The story is based most prominently on the relationship of Will to her late aunt, and stemming from that, her best girlfriend. And Will's fragmented relationship with her mother. And then the friendships of other high school girls who make up the pool of (eventual) pageant contestants.
I watched several Netflix original movies during TV hiatus this summer, and many were downright alarming. I wanted to like "Kissing Booth," but in the end, it was a story about two brothers who felt inappropriate possession of a common girlfriend. "Sierra Burgess is a Loser" and "F the Prom" both had characters who ended up doing horribly mean things, which we are supposed to nod and understand because they felt rejected. I didn't get past the first 30 minutes of "When First We Met" or Groundhog Day II or whatever.
I'm just saying this movie is a cut above most of the Netflix originals, and doesn't have an overarching problematic theme. Definitely feel-good, and you can genuinely like most of the characters.
I did enjoy the drag queens and the Dolly Parton. I especially liked Maddie Baillio who plays Millie Michalchuk; she was funny, sweet, and charming.
Overall, this is a solid 5 out of 10.
- Support means telling people they don't need to change at all in any way.
- Your parents should be defied because you definitely know better.
- People should have to accept you for who you are. No matter what that means, or how little you know about life and your place in the world.
But the worst part of this movie has to be the characters. A product of the cringe-worthy and predictable writing. All lame caricatures of annoyingly familiar and shallow stereotypes.
The missed opportunity is that this film could have had a great message, such as: all people are layered and different despite their surface appearance. And that unique character is developed by going through changes in life, not avoiding them.
3 out of 10 bananas.