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Seriously Red 2023 Movie Review
Those looking for a wholesome watch need not look elsewhere. Dolly Parton is an indisputable icon and a figure that has played a large role in the lives of millions not to mention the impact of her music. Seriously Red or Being Dolly depending on where you may live is an incredibly cute Australian film that may not tread any new ground in terms of its story but at the end of the day, this dramedy is just fun and sometimes that’s enough. If the latter is of any indication, the impact of the film’s inspiration can be felt throughout in writer and star Krew Boylan’s script. She is an absolute ray of sunshine and the best part of the film. A coming-of-age story in a sense, the tried-and-true story of a character finding their voice (this film takes that a little more literally) still works and when it comes to this film, it keeps to that formula for the most part while putting a different spin on it by taking audiences on a trip through the world of celebrity impersonators. Though they may not necessarily be the most accurate, it’s not always about replicating a look but rather what they represented. Also, this does make for some hilarious interaction and moments.
Seriously Red follows a woman named Raylene ‘Red’ Delaney (Boylan) who after losing her job as a real estate agent and finding herself at a crossroads, she finally decided to pursue her dream of being the greatest Dolly Parton impersonator. The attention she was getting at Dolly from her former coworkers and town, unlike what she was seemingly getting as herself, gave her confidence and self-esteem a much-needed boost but little did she know, it would go much further than that, catching the eye of a promoter and a booking agent. Rising up the ranks virtually overnight, she found herself paired with a top Kenny Rogers impersonator who was coincidentally named Kenny (Webber). Over the course of touring and performing, the two struck up more of a romantic relationship though over the same time, the line between fantasy and reality became increasingly blurry. So entrenched with the fantasy and enamored with her newfound fame, Red arguably started to lose track of her own identity and alienated her family and friends. As opposed to Kenny, the fantasy appeared to have taken over for him. Perhaps Red was all he needed to remind him of his own true identity
The identity crisis in the midst of the celebrity impersonator industry made for some compelling albeit unoriginal content but the story as a whole takes a derivative and predictable path with plenty of ups and downs as characters learn from their experiences both good and bad until the eventual “aha” moment where they see the light. That being said, Red was such a fun and relatable character to watch that it made up for that. Offering audiences a window into the impersonator world, Red’s character arc works because of Boylan’s script and her stellar and cute performance as Red. The goal was empowerment and for that, Seriously Red succeeds. While not a new message by any means, it remains very much effective. Boylan’s chemistry with Webber, who delivered a scene-stealing performance in his own right, was also a highlight. Another plus is that the two can sing and sing well together. Meanwhile, an unrecognizable Byrne delivers another scene-stealing performance as an Elvis impersonator.
In the end, Seriously Red is a fun and wholesome character study that may not bring anything new to the table but for what it lacks, it makes up for with a truly empowering tale. The Dolly Parton soundtrack also doesn’t hurt.