Director: Gracie Otto
Writers: Krew Boylan
Stars: Krew Boylan, Daniel Webber, Rose Byrne
Synopsis: A realtor pursues a new career as a Dolly Parton impersonator.
In America, it is practically impossible to find someone who doesn’t truly love Dolly Parton. She’s more than a singer-songwriter. Dolly is a true icon. The film Seriously Red, directed by Gracie Otto, and starring Krew Bolan and Bobby Canavale, shows audiences that Dolly is as much of an icon in Australia and the rest of the world as she is in the United States. The film delves into the sub-culture of celebrity impersonators, as well as the lengths people will go through to achieve stardom and success.
Red (Bolan), is a quirky woman working in real estate at the start of the film. She is funny and refreshing, but yes, there are those who find her obsession with Dolly Parton a bit strange. She gets fired early in the film for her frequent inappropriate behavior at parties when she drinks. We see a young Red dressing up as Parton, and continues to do so as she gets older. She performs for co-workers and friends. Her mother doesn’t understand her. Her best friend, Francis, always encourages her to be herself. Red gets fired from her real-estate job, and she begins making a living as a Dolly Parton impersonator. Red loses herself as she completely changes her life to become her idol. She has a relationship with a Kenny Rogers impersonator. She drives away her friends and family, and realizes that she needs to find out who she is, and forget trying to become someone else.
The supporting cast added a great deal to the charm of this film. Thomas Campbell plays Red’s best friend, Francis. The two have terrific chemistry, and their relationship was one of the highlights of the film. He is the only person who truly sees Red for all that she is. He loves the real Red, and is saddened as she begins to fade away and become Dolly all the time. Honestly, if there had been a sitcom in the 1990s about these two, it would have been a huge success. Danny Webber plays Kenny, a Kenny Rogers impersonator, who encourages Red to completely lose herself into the role of Dolly. Red and Kenny DO become successful. They travel around the world. Red is finally a success, rather than a joke at the office. But at what price? Who is the real Red?
As a fan of Dolly Parton, I find this movie to be infinitely charming. I love films about quirky characters, and Red is about as quirky as it gets. You feel for her when people find her weird and laugh at her. But, she also has a great deal of confidence to go out in the world and put herself out there to entertain people. The film is peppered with quotes from Queen Dolly herself, which shows the deep appreciation the writer clearly has for her. Bolan is delightful and relatable, as a woman who is looking for something bigger in life, bigger than her office job where everyone treats her like a joke. She finds and then loses herself as a Dolly Parton impersonator. My favorite part of the movie, however, is the always wonderful Bobby Canavale. I never knew how much I needed to see him sing “I Am, I Said” as a Neil Diamond impersonator.
All in all, this is a sweet, funny, and enjoyable movie. The performances are entertaining and the story is one that most of us can relate to. Is it groundbreaking? No. But if you are looking for a movie that will make you laugh, feel good, and you enjoy Dolly Parton (who doesn’t), this will be an enjoyable film for you.