How Accurate Is 'Dolly Parton's Coat Of Many Colors'? It Captures Her Backstory Well

We all know that country singer Dolly Parton is a musical legend, but like every icon, she suffered her fair share of road bumps on the way to stardom. Dolly’s backstory has become an epic in its own right, which is why NBC's special Dolly Parton's Coat of Many Colors is so interesting. But how accurate is Coat of Many Colors? As any country music fan would tell you, Dolly came from very humble beginnings, and has translated her roots into a powerful “rags-to-rhinestones” narrative, according to her website.

In addition to showcasing her childhood home in Locust Ridge, Tennessee, as part of a historical attraction called Dollywood, Parton has written and spoken extensively about growing up in abject poverty. Dolly Parton’s Coat of Many Colors introduces viewers to young Dolly (played by Alyvia Alyn Lind) and the trials and tribulations faced by her family in 1955. In the made-for-TV movie, fans gain some insight into what it was like for Dolly to be raised in an environment that Parton has described as being “dirt poor.” Though the movie has been mocked by sources like Jezebel for making light of tragedy and poverty, I'm excited to see a part of this country legend’s history come to life on the small screen.

Just how accurate to life is Coat of Many Colors? Let’s delve into a little bit of the saga of Dolly.

There Really Is A Coat Of Many Colors

The titular garment is on display in a glass case at Dollywood, but it looks a little different than the one in the film. In an interview with Yahoo, costume designer Michael Boyd acknowledges the disparity, yet says the choice to present the coat as different is due to the fact that he was trying to represent the coat from a “child’s eye — from young Dolly’s eye — and from the love that her mother took to build the coat.”

Though the name of the coat is derived from the biblical story of Joseph and his technicolor swag, Dolly’s mother, Avie Lee, really did fashion it for her daughter out of old rags. How’s that for upcycling?

Dolly Really Does Have That Large Of A Family.

The crazy amount of relatives in the movie are, in fact, based in reality. According to her website, Dolly is the fourth child of twelve — yes, a dozen — and they all lived in a humble home in the Great Smoky Mountains. Her mother and father, played in the movie by Jennifer Nettles (of the country duo, Sugarland) and Ricky Schroder (former child actor), struggled to make ends meet, but provided a safe and loving home for their brood. In an interview with Parade, Dolly said that though she was poor, her family had "a lot of the important stuff that money don't buy you anyway."

Her Family Provided Inspiration For Her Musical Tendency

According to her website, Dolly credits her uncle, Bill Owens, for introducing her to the music industry. In the movie, the family is shown as encouraging Dolly's performing, even after her faith is shaken due to the loss of an unborn sibling. This sort of love and support is what spurred Dolly into the legend she is today.

So, yeah, the movie seems pretty darn accurate!

Images: Quantrell Colbert/NBC Universal (4)