★★★★★ | The Year Dolly Parton Was My Mum

I rarely gush, especially when sober, but fasten your seat belts – I’m about to.

I’ve just been fortunate enough to spend 1 and 1/2 hours in the company of some of the most wonderful talents around, including Dolly Parton.

The Year Dolly Parton Was My Mum is one of those rare things, a film that manages to be both funny and serious, mixing the genres of road movie and coming of age – with Dolly Parton added into the mix (did I mention that already?)

The story is simple:

Eleven year old Elizabeth has a solid, simple life. That is until a run-of-the-mill school assignment alters her life, and the lives of the people around her forever. She’s struggling to cope with the usual pre-teen issues – boobs and periods, mean girls and then suddenly added to this, the fact she was adopted.

She puts 2 and 2 together to get 3, and sets off to meet what she assumes to be her real mom, Dolly Parton, at a concert over the border in the US.

What follows is a cross country chase (although with Elizabeth on her Chopper bike, this isn’t Fast or Furious!) when her adoptive mother overcomes her issues about her perfect life to re-ignite her relationship with her daughter – genetic or not.

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The film perfectly captures the feel and colour of 1976, the music of Dolly is used throughout and although she doesn’t actually appear in this indie flick, her presence is everywhere, including new versions of old classics by the likes of Nelly Fertado and Martha Wainwright.

I won’t spoil this any more for you, but treat yourself. Pour a Cinzano and lemonade, don your best flares and fly away collar shirt and treat yourself to some pure escapism.

Director Tara Johns makes a brilliant first feature, having penned the film also. The film succeeds because it feels personal, it feels real, and, most of all, it engages you and makes you feel good.

I’d give the film 6 out of 5 if it were possible.

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