Willowdean ('Dumplin'), the plus-size teenage daughter of a former beauty queen, signs up for her mom's Miss Teen Bluebonnet pageant as a protest that escalates when other contestants follow her footsteps, revolutionizing the pageant and their small Texas town.
Keith, a twenty-four-year-old newly released from prison and living with his dad under house arrest in Baltimore, is struggling to reestablish himself, within a community scarred by unemployment, neglect, and deeply entrenched segregation.
In a small supermarket in a blue collar town, a black man smiles at a 10-year-old white boy across the checkout aisle. This innocuous moment sends two gangs into a ruthless war that ends with a shocking backlash.
Love films centred around music. Being someone who grew up with music being a huge part of my life, who sings and who graduated last year with a degree in Vocal and Operatic Studies, so considers music very important and that it wasn't appreciated enough or sadly not cool to like as a subject in my school years.
Am not a big fan of rap, with a few exceptions, often finding it simplistic, repetitive and preachy, but have a high appreciation, if not quite love, for blues. So wasn't sure how good 'Patti Cake$' would be, despite it being positively received, but there are good music-following your dreams films out there and there was the hope that 'Patti Cake$' would be one of them. Seeing it, it was. Not as amazing as the best reviews have said it is, but for its flaws there is a lot to like here and it was quite the pleasant surprise.
Sure, 'Patti Cake$', being a film that treads familiar ground, is very predictable with not much new and characters that fall into cliché territory. The looking up to the rap god subplot is contrived and underdeveloped, feeling like filler. Agree too that the script has its clunky moments.
However, there are good things. The budget is not a huge one and 'Patti Cake$' is not a grand in spectacle film, nor does it need to be. It's hardly a cheap-looking film and is shot well. The music is catchy and tune, yes even the rap despite some simplistic lyric writing.
Most of the writing has humour that's a mix of gentle and witty, a warm heart and heartfelt poignancy. For its clichés and predictability and one subplot that falls flat, the story has freshness too and told in a way that has vibrancy and heart, with a lot of energy and creative spark, the very definition of feel good, it's very sweet, heart-warming and uplifting and the underdog/following your dreams story as a result just about works.
Geremy Jasper keeps things moving beautifully, with great direction of his actors and the drama and great, near-seamless synchronisation of visuals, staging and music. The characters, despite being clichés, are both fun and not hard to like, with the lead character being proof that one doesn't need to look like a supermodel to be an inspirational role model. In no way is that meant to cause offence, actually think lowly of people who think it's alright to make shallow comments about people's looks.
The cast do a great job, with Bridget Everett, Siddharth Dhananjay and Mamoudou Athie providing zesty support and Cathy Moriaty registering strongly too. Best of all, the backbone of the film and the best thing about it, is Danielle MacDonald, a brilliant star-making turn and she deserves to be a big star after this.
All in all, a very nice film that made me feel good, regardless of not completely loving it. Am aware that this review is going to be very unpopular, despite being a subjective person that the very eruditely written and in my mind honest positive reviews have so many negative useful votes is a surprise to me. 7/10 Bethany Cox
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