TV Review: ‘Dolly Parton’s Coat of Many Colors’

Dolly Partons Coat of Many Colors
Courtesy of NBC

Horning in on Hallmark Channel’s territory, “Dolly Parton’s Coat of Many Colors” is a TV movie like mama used to make – a relentlessly faith-based holiday confection geared toward an audience that (before Mark Burnett copyrighted the Bible) had reason to feel underserved by network television. Introduced and narrated by Parton – from Dollywood, no less – NBC’s movie focuses on a narrow slice of the singer’s early biography, defined by the power of love and religion. Unabashedly schmaltzy and handsomely done, this “Little House on the Prairie”-like effort should deliver a different audience from last week’s “The Wiz,” but a sizable one nevertheless.

The movie picks up in 1955 in Tennessee’s Great Smoky Mountains, where a then-9-year-old Dolly, portrayed by Alyvia Alyn Lind (“Revenge,” “A Deadly Adoption”) is being raised as part of a TLC-like brood of eight kids, with a ninth on the way. Mom (country star Jennifer Nettles) is a preacher’s daughter, while dad (Ricky Schroder) won’t set foot inside the church, much to the chagrin of his father-in-law (Gerald McRaney, who somehow seems to be everywhere at once these days).

The family’s tradition is that the older kids help mom tend to the new ones, and the rambunctious Dolly – already an aspiring singing star, who colorfully quotes her dad by telling her mom, “You may be brown-headed, but you was born with a red-headed temper” – is beyond enthusiastic about the prospect of the new addition. But when mom loses the baby, her faith is tested, as well as the bond between her parents, who, before then, had always had more love than money.

Written by Pamela K. Long, and directed by Stephen Herek, “Coat of Many Colors” (the title of an early Parton song) does, indeed, feature said coat, the garment mom stitched together out of colorful rags. And while the movie concocts various subplots out of necessity – about a friendship and a feud with a neighboring clan – that’s mostly filler, as the conversation keeps returning to Dolly’s abundant talent and the importance of faith and promise of an afterlife, with mom telling Dolly her voice is “a gift, from Him that made you.”

Granted, these themes are hit so frequently, and bluntly, as to become a trifle repetitive, to the point where it’s a wonder anyone has time left to tend the crops or sing. But there’s an earnestness here – ably delivered by the cast, starting with Lind – that should play well with the target audience, particularly those prone to lament the dearth of faith-based programming and Hollywood’s perceived hostility toward their values.

Hallmark, of course, gradually squandered its regular broadcast platform – yielding shrinking ratings for its movies, in part due to creative neglect – but the combination of holiday scheduling and the country connection should drum up solid numbers. If not, it would likely be a setback to those clamoring for such fare. And if so, then “Coat of Many Colors” can be considered a sort-of dual gift – both from, and to, NBC.

TV Review: 'Dolly Parton's Coat of Many Colors'

(Movie; NBC, Thurs. Dec. 10, 9 p.m.)

Production

Filmed in Atlanta by Dixie Pixie Prods. and Magnolia Hill Entertainment in association with Warner Bros. Television.

Crew

Executive producers, Dolly Parton, Sam Haskell, Pamela K. Long; producer, Hudson Hickman; director, Stephen Herek; writer, Long; camera, Brian J. Reynolds; production designer, Thomas Valentine; editor, Maysie Hoy; music, Velton Ray Bunch, Mark Leggett; casting, Patrick Rush. 120 MIN.

Cast

Jennifer Nettles, Ricky Schroder, Alyvia Alyn Lind, Gerald McRaney

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  1. Elaine says:

    I just Loved the movie so much!! Thank you for bringing a really touching family based movie together that I could watch with my kids! I think whoever wrote a directed this should do a series for tv like it and have Ricky Shroder star in it! He’s an excellent actor who has been gifted since he was a child! I just loved it so much , I miss good wholesome tv shows America needs them back sooooo badly!!

  2. Julane Jensen says:

    Dolly Parton’s Coat of Many Colors movie….Wow!!! That was a fantastic movie!!! Leaves me wanting to know more about what happened with the rest of the family. We loved it!!!

  3. angel may jenkins says:

    When is the showing of the movie on Hallmark. I love dolly here life as a child is a story I my self can relate to. Although my life at this point hasn’t got much better. I haven’t found my true calling .

  4. Judy Nelson says:

    Will you have it played again on the Hallmark station?
    I missed ” Coat of many colors”. I heard it was good. Please email me at jnelson1123@ charter.net.

    Thanks, Judy Nelson

  5. Janie says:

    Will NBC air the movie “Coats of Many Colors” again?!?!? I missed seeing it and everyone is talking about the movie!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. Gina ursery says:

    You need to sell the movie a dolly Parton coats of many colors I would buy three of them

  7. Wendy Wilber says:

    I was genuinely surprised at how much I enjoyed this program. I hope it is repeated annually.

  8. J JERNIGAN says:

    WHEN OR HOW CAN I SEE THIS TV SPECIAL–DID NOT KNOW IT WAS ON AND MISSES IT

  9. Mary Ellen Walker says:

    I was so excited to hear that Dolly’s “Coat of Many Colors” was going to air a a Christmas special. I aassumed that my 19 year granddaughter would retreat to her room, but to my surprise she stayed glued to thetv screen. We both loved the movies, and we would love to see it become a series. American needs family television like this movies. We need to be reminded of hard times, family and friends pulling together, laughter, faith, tears, hope, but most of all LOVE. I lost my husband 2 Christmas’ ago. I have experiened all ot these things, but God has been faithful during the good and bad times. Thank you, Dolly!

  10. Bobbi says:

    “I loved it!” It is something I would enjoy watching again. We need more of this type of viewing of love, forgiveness, and keeping our eyes on the Lord.

  11. Don L says:

    What a great move for these times. It was needed. Well done by all. 👏👏👏

  12. Rachel Arnold says:

    It was so good when will it be shown again?

  13. melissa says:

    Shelli…we love you and so does Jesus. Our country was most certainly founded in Christianity…I’m sorry you missed the memo!!!! Jesus loves you:)

    • Travis says:

      Not really. Many of the signers were humanists, who put reason far above faith. Others believed in divine providence as sort of an abstract concept. Let’s not forget they called their own scientific era the Age of Reason. That’s why they were so keen to keep religion out of the country’s affairs, besides the occasional genuflection to “God”, to keep everyone happy.

  14. melissa says:

    Awesome movie! Characters very well chosen and the message much needed in these times where life is so easily discarded along with faith in our heavenly savior!!! Rock on Dolly!

  15. Don’t get me wrong I liked the movie… but for me it was seemed more of a “Mother’s Day” movie then Christmas Themed. I felt the entire movie was to focused on the Mother character.

    Everyone who missed it can watch it “On Demand” it’s free and avail under “Broadcast Networks” “NBC”.

  16. Pamela says:

    Beautifully done movie with an excellent cast . Much enjoyed !

  17. Lisa Plante says:

    I loved this movie especially now that our world has become super scary! It was such a breath of fresh air🤗 The movie was great😀 & it was awesome to see my Crush since 12, play the part just right! He never disappoints. Very heartwarming true story of Dolly Parton whom Is a favorite Country singer😇 I learned lots of things I never knew about her childhood. I watch that adorable little girl actress on Y&R she’s so pretty and talented on there😊 But in the movie she really shined!😃 I loved this movie,wish I could go back in time. Then the world wouldn’t seem scary😩 I enjoyed this movie 😁 I give it 5 Stars! Ty Lisa

  18. I missed the movie,,,,DOLLY PARTON’S===C0AT OF MANY COLORS== will it be shown again ?? if so , when and where ??

  19. lisa says:

    I just watched Dolly Parton’s Coat of Many Colors. Thank you Dolly for sharing the gift that God gave you to the world. Your incredible mother played by Jennifer Nettles, who I was awestruck with, reignited my faith to believe in miracles. Thank you for sharing your family with us. As Gerald Rainey who played Dolly’s father said, Life is hard, but to see a family who perservered in love and prayer and forgiveness. It was awesome to witness in a movie on a local channel nonetheless. Now we see the reason why Dolly was successful in her achievements.

  20. Kay Katopodis says:

    Awesome story of the life of Dolly Parton. Best movie I’ve seen in a long time. Alyvia Alyn Lind played the part of Dolly as I would have imagined that Dolly would have sounded and sang at that age. All actors and actresses in this file done an excellent job. We need move movies like this of faith and family.

  21. A Key says:

    Finally a joyful happy movie with good old fashioned values that the whole family can sit and enjoy together. Would love to see it become a series! I seldom watch TV but am glad I took the time to watch. Would love to see more.

  22. T says:

    Pay attention. The feud with the neighbor children is not a sub-plot. Those children made fun of Dolly’s coat. It’s in the lyrics.

  23. Angel says:

    Anyone else notice the resemblance or possible Dolly cameo in the shopkeeper (where they went to buy seed)?

  24. B. Gould says:

    Wonderful movie. Refreshing to watch something wholesome for a change.

  25. I loved this movie. It was the best movie I have seen in a very long time. I was in my late teens and used to sing that in a band. I sang a lot of her song’s. She is great person. Very loving.Dollywood must be awesome place. I had to go by the exit going to Nashville one time, was so hard to do.Could not stop.
    The person I was with would not take me.I am 62 years old, and still want to go there. I love her music. And I hope we see more movies like that one. Thank you for a good evening of t.v.

  26. cindy says:

    The movie was far the best that I have seen in a long time. No killings. No drama..it was about Love..Happines..joy.. I laugh and cried though the whole movie.. we all need Love..Happines and joy in our lives.. and the little girl that played Dolly. She played her part well. Full of spunk.
    I have the song Coats of many Colors.. by Dolly
    Ck..Indianapolis in

  27. Shannon says:

    Will the show be replayed for those who couldn’t watch it?? If so, when???

  28. Peter Christine Vasquez says:

    This movie left us with a warm sense of hope. Great movie we have been telling people this is a must see movie of faith love and truth.

  29. WILL THIS MOVIE BE ON DVD, IN STORES SOON I HOPE

  30. Cindy Loveless says:

    I this was the most warm, well done movie I’ve seen in a while. “LOVED” the cast, the little girl just “oozed” with Dolly! Loved it, loved her! Dolly has always been one of my personal favorites because she’s just seems so down to earth, and fun. How can you not be happy watching “Dolly” anything! She’s been a blessing.
    Is this going to be in DVD? I would love to own it and watch it again.
    Cindy Loveless

    • Mary Dyess says:

      Loved this movie,and hope she will add sequels to it.Laughed and cried. Many of us can totally relate. We need more ,more,more of this kind of programming. Mary Dyess from Marthaville, La.

  31. This was by far the best TV I have watched in a long time. Please get rid of the killing shows. Please get rid of the crime shows.
    Please give the people that pay a bunch of money for their TV a show that is like this. I’m tired of watching Walton reruns and the such. Put a genre like this back on TV!!

  32. Bruce Cusson says:

    What a surprise this movie was. It was handsomely produced, well acted and left the viewer with a warm feeling just right for the Christmas Season. Give us more like this.

  33. Shyanne says:

    Wish there were more movies like this out both on TV and at the theater! Most of what’s on these days isn’t worth watching – too much violence or smut. Jennifer Nettles was amazing and that little gal who played Dolly looked so much like her as a child. Good job – give us more!!!

  34. linda Virden says:

    my husband and I both felt we had seen this movie before..was this the 1st time on the air!

  35. Brenda Jones says:

    please air again, I did not get to watch…

  36. Marie says:

    When will the show coats of many colors be on again.

  37. Lisa says:

    Thank you Pamela K Long for writing this amazing story. This movie wouldn’t not be what is was if it was not for your words ! The actors were great & because of your words they may see an Emmy !

  38. she T. says:

    It was an awesome movie so uplifting comppaired to other movies aired on TV

  39. Elen says:

    My husband and I adored this movie. Just happened to turn it on and were glued to the tv the entire time. Jennifer Nettles and Alyvia Lind were phenominal portraying their characters!! Enjoyed watching !

  40. Anna Supinger says:

    Thanks Dolly for sharing with the whole world that LOVE really works and That God’s love never fails.
    Through your own life’s experiences. Thanks again, Love you, Anna

  41. Loved the movie, cried, cried, cried. very touching. want more.

  42. Ray says:

    Loved the film. Wish there were more like it on TV.

  43. Karol says:

    Excellent Movie! How do we let NBC we want more movies like this?

  44. Deb says:

    Awesome Movie!! This is exactly what people need!! True stories based on faith…..our Lord Jesus Christ! What our Country was founded on!
    No matter your trials in life your belief and love for the Lord and your love for family will give you the strength to get through!! Dolly did a wonderful job….she should do more movies!! AMEN!!

    • Shelli says:

      It was a great movie! But PLEASE stop spreading the myth that this country’s founding was based on Christianity! It certainly was NOT! Several of our Founding Fathers were openly Atheist! Did you forget why the Pilgrims fled England????

      • Nan says:

        You are so right–just watched an educational tv program about the Pilgrims and why they left England –. to get away from oppressive religion. You don’t have to be religious to appreciate a nice, wholesome program.

  45. t58b says:

    I absolutely loved the movie!! So refreshing from the trash that is normally out there. I loved her simple way of life and that their faith is what kept them going thru the good and the bad. I loved seeing a mom with a strong faith even though she had to stand alone. I loved how she prayed over her children at the dinner table. I just can’t say enough about how much I loved it!!! We need more of these movies!!

  46. Phoebe Frost says:

    I loved this movie. The whole cast was great. Happy that they weren’t afraid to talk about the Lord so strongly in this movie!!! Great job

  47. Kaze says:

    I absolutely loved this sweet little movie. Jennifer Nettles was amazing!

  48. Jamie Henry says:

    We need more movies like this about the people that make this world a better place. Dolly probably has a lot more movies possible from her life. Loved it.

  49. Jani Wells Thomas says:

    Dolly, thank you so much for sharing your story. You & the folks who helped you put this together really knew what you were doing. The entire movie was beautifully crafted and touched me more than words can express. Can’t wait to see it again or possibly own a copy. AWESOME!! You were able to share the struggles that all Christians go through in extremely difficult times. That is reality! The best part was about Forgiveness. Would that more folks could learn that lesson – the world would be a better place.
    May God Bless you and your family. Thank you again. Jani Thomas

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