There is a genre of movies that we truly hate, a genre that you can’t find on IMDb, which we call “missed opportunities.” Allow us to explain why “Seriously Red” falls under that category. It was a beautiful story about being true to one’s identity, but the message got lost, despite being repeated again and again by every other character because we never got to see what Rayleen’s real personality was. The movie has a runtime of an hour and a half. They could have taken another half hour and shown us this side of the story. It would have added some much-needed depth and explained the other characters’ reactions a lot better. Additionally, we feel the need to give the disclaimer that it was after watching “Seriously Red” that we became privy to the fact that red-headed people are probably made fun of a lot. But we are guessing that it is just one of the jokes that exist for the sake of it and is not a serious thing. Let’s get to the story of Raylene Red Delaney.
How Did Raylene Red Delaney Become A Dolly Parton Impersonator?
Red is a realtor who wastes a lot of time during her working hours. When she is at a client’s house, she daydreams in his bathtub and then proceeds to spend a lot of time with him, listening to his entire life story through the photo albums. We think her actions were motivated by her need to be liked. When she shows up to the office party in a Dolly Parton costume after being pranked by her best friend Francis, she feels humiliated. As she tells him, she wants to be respected and taken seriously, and she believes her appearance gets in the way of that. That night, she receives the “Office Clown” award, which she obviously hates but is forced to accept. But she turns it around by performing a bit and impersonating Dolly Parton. When she steps out, she meets Teeth, and we will not be discussing why she is named that. Teeth compliment her on her performance and ask her to come to a festival where they will be performing with a Kenny Rogers impersonator. That night, Red leaves with the Elvis impersonator who had come to the event. It looks like she had a successful night, but we discover that she lives in her mother’s garage. Her mother wants her to move back home, but Red doesn’t want to.
That day, at her job, she gets fired by her boss due to her inappropriate conduct at the party. But there are other reasons as well. She is constantly late, drinks with people at her job, and has lost her driver’s license. But Red, instead of addressing her unprofessionalism, believes her hair to be the cause—even after Forbes specifically tells her that it isn’t. In a petty fit of anger, she declares that she will quit the job herself. She takes the chance to go to the festival she was invited to, and Teeth tells her that she is giving her the gig for the day to act as Dolly Parton. Red is overjoyed and, in fact, does a good job. She is invited to another venue and told that she must convince Wilson if she wants a permanent job. But before that can happen, back home, Red gives her mother, the news of her moving out and living with Francis. Later, at the venue, she convinces Wilson by telling him how she has always idolized Dolly Parton, and he tells her that she must make her a part of herself if she wants to be good. That day, the woman assigned to impersonate Dolly is a nervous wreck because she would have to improvise on stage, which she clearly states that she can’t do.
At the last minute, Red grabs the microphone from her and takes her place, delivering a beautiful performance that lands her the gig she wants. Back home, when she announces to her mother that she is impersonating Dolly Parton for a living, her mother doesn’t take her seriously, much to Red’s angst. As for Francis, he tells her that she must bring her own individuality to the impersonation if she wants to stand out. While he said it as a well-wisher, in her insecure state, Red interpreted it differently. She was finally getting the respect and adulation that she had always wanted, and she had gotten that by being somebody else. She felt that bringing more to the act meant being more like Dolly Parton. Hence, she opts for breast augmentation surgery. Throughout this time, she has started a relationship with Kenny and moved in with him. She often questions him about what he was before he started doing this for a living, but he brushes it away. It becomes clear to us that she is trying to separate her own sense of identity from the woman she is impersonating. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that she misses her old self. One day, Kenny reveals to her some of his childhood trauma and tells her that he wants to meet her mother.
At Red’s mother’s place, she is still not on board with everything her daughter is becoming because it doesn’t fit her idea of the overachiever, she wants her to be. But Red is successful enough not to care what her mother thinks without it hurting her. In fact, her problems are far greater. She sees Francis dating a red-headed girl, and that makes her think of the happiness she might have given up. She misses Francis, though we don’t understand why their friendship came to a standstill to begin with. So, what if she was consumed by her own job? Shouldn’t her friend have been by her side instead of letting it push him away, especially when he had known her all her life, so he understood why she was doing whatever she was doing? But that’s probably the burden of being the funny friend, as Red bears it. Everyone loves her for the laughter and lightness she brings into their lives, but nobody knows how to be there for her or even understand her.
‘Seriously Red’ Ending Explained: Does Raylene Red Delaney Separate Her Identity From Dolly Parton’s?
Going through an identity crisis, Red talks to Wilson about it and asks him why he stopped doing his Neil Diamond impersonation. He replies that he was tired of not being himself, and while he loved the adulation that he was getting from the audience, he wanted that from his wife, which he was losing along with himself. According to him, “the more unique you are as an individual, the harder it is for you to impersonate someone for very long.”
For her show that night, Red notices that Francis has not come. While she and Kenny put on a great performance, Red is not entirely happy. However, when he drops down to his knees and asks her to marry him, it is a lightbulb moment for Red. If she accepted his proposal, she would be accepting a life living as Dolly Parton because she had been so consumed by being her that she had never shown Kenny what she truly was. This meant that this proposal was for Dolly, not for Red. Red tells him why she can’t marry him, and he accepts it gracefully. As she walks away from the stage, her mother has tears in her eyes and is proud of her. It was a heart-touching moment, but we were unable to digest it. Why was her mother proud when she had never even liked her daughter as she was? Instead of tears, the actor should have opted for a small smile as an acceptance of her daughter’s individuality. That would have been more believable. Red walks off the stage, saying she doesn’t need the applause anymore. She meets up with Francis as he is winning an award and rekindles their friendship. Red becomes the author of a book titled “Seriously Red,” and we are guessing that being an author and a motivational speaker is her new career.
Final Thoughts: Could ‘Seriously Red’ Have Been Better?
Yes, it could have been so much better had the editors not been so miserly with the runtime. All we know of Red’s real personality is that she is tardy and a little unprofessional, with some jumpy mannerisms. Her and Francis’ friendship needed to be explored more because right now, he is coming across as Andy from “The Devil Wears Prada.” We liked the supporting cast and how they enhanced our overall understanding of the subject matter. While we do prefer movies to have a crisp edit, it should be done in such a way that the story receives its due. A longer runtime, even of just 20 minutes, would have greatly benefited the movie. For now, “Seriously Red” is just an incomplete piece of content that comes close to touching our hearts but just doesn’t have the strength to do that.