When I saw the trailer for Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, I knew that I wanted to see it. It looked fun with a great cast so I was excited to watch it. I thought the premise of the main character wanting to be a drag queen sounded intriguing. Since watching it, I am absolutely in love with this movie. Not only is it fun and fabulous but the film is emotional and powerful, with an empowering message about being true to yourself, has incredible performances and fantastic musical numbers.
Everybody’s Talking About Jamie is a coming-of-age musical comedy-drama directed by Jonathan Butterell and from a screenplay by Tom MacRae based on the stage musical of the same name. In the film, the 16-year-old Jamie New (Max Harwood) dreams of becoming a drag queen. While the future is uncertain, Jamie is sure of one thing, he’s going to be a sensation. With the help of his loving mom, Margaret (Sarah Lancashire), her best friend Ray (Shobna Gulati), his best friend Pritti (Lauren Patel) and mentor Hugo Battersby aka Loco Chanelle (Richard E. Grant), Jamie overcomes prejudice, beats the bullies, and steps out of the darkness into the spotlight.
Everything about this film is upbeat. Even in the darkest moments, there is love and light that shine from the characters. One of the best aspects is the message the film conveys which is to be true to yourself. The plot never forces that message but it resonates through every scene and every action Jamie takes in the film. Better yet, the message isn’t heavy-handed. Jamie has struggles, internal fears he must face, an absent father (Ralph Ineson), bullies like Dean Paxton (Samuel Bottomly), and even a disapproving teacher, Miss Hedge (Sharon Horgan). Through it all, with the love and support of others, he finds his way and his voice without lecturing the audience or making them feel talked down to. The plot, that of a young man wanting to be a drag queen, is unique and conveyed in a truly natural way, showing us just how to stand up to those who would try to drag us down.
One of the fantastic elements to me is how well the writers draw from the source material given that the story is based on a real person and his journey. The film does an outstanding job of helping viewers understand why a young man would want to be a drag queen, of how it feels, how the persona allows him to stand up to bullies, to find his voice, and to be fierce in the face of the many challenges LGBTQ individuals face. I have a friend who is a drag performer and much of the film resonated with how he speaks about performing. I could see young Jamie in my friend and that speaks volumes for the writing and for the impact this will have on LGBTQ youth.
As a musical, the music is integral to the plot. The musical numbers in this film only enhance the emotional weight of the story and add nuance to the plot. Beyond the emotion, the songs are also wonderful, original numbers with each performance being fantastic. Max Harwood shines in his numbers as Jamie but so too does the entire cast, Sarah Lancashire as his mother, Lauren Patel as Pritti, and the entire cast of students who perform the group numbers. It is a richly talented group that carries the musical performances brilliantly.
The actors are fantastic. Max Harwood shines as Jamie, giving us a nuanced and emotional performance with humor and drama, equally skilled at both. His rich chemistry with Lauren Patel allows their performances to have warmth. He truly felt connected to Sarah Lancashire as Margaret, their duet together full of love and light. Sarah Lancashire is powerful as Margaret as she conveys her love and support as the character, the character always loving toward her son. Lauren Patel gives us diversity as Pritti, not only standing out as a smart and clever young woman but a skilled performer as well. She does an excellent job of showing us Pritti’s struggles as well, her own journey in beating the bullies. Richard E. Grant is fabulous as Hugo aka Loco Chanelle, a retired drag queen, taking Jamie under his wing and providing a ton of emotion and fun to the movie.
To me, this film goes beyond fun and camp. It is a joyful embrace of what it means to be different and to face those who would bully you or cause you pain for being so. Any individual who faces those challenges will love this film. It is full of fierceness, glitter, tons of wonderful music and will be infectiously empowering for anybody who has faced being different. For the youth of today, this film is uplifting and powerful, telling them it’s okay to be yourself, whoever that person is and that much heart in one film should be embraced. For me, I loved every fabulous scene and every musical number, right down to the glittery red shoes.
Rating: 5 out of 5 Fabulous Shoes
Official Website: Everybody’s Talking about Jamie | 20th Century Studios
Everybody’s Talking About Jamie
Inspired by true events, EVERYBODY’S TALKING ABOUT JAMIE is the film adaptation of the award-winning hit musical from London’s West End, about Jamie New (newcomer Max Harwood), a teenager in a blue collar English town with a dream of life on stage. While his classmates plan their livelihoods after graduation, Jamie contemplates revealing his secret career ambition as a fierce and proud drag queen. His best friend Pritti (Lauren Patel) and his loving mom (Sarah Lancashire) shower him with endless support while local drag legend Miss Loco Chanelle (Richard E. Grant) mentors him toward his debut stage performance. But it’s not all rainbows for Jamie as his unsupportive dad (Ralph Ineson), an uninspired career advisor (Sharon Horgan), and some ignorant school kids attempt to rain on his sensational aspirations. In rousing and colorful musical numbers, Jamie and his community inspire one another to be more accepting, and to see the value in facing adversity and stepping out of the darkness into the spotlight.
EVERYBODY’S TALKING ABOUT JAMIE stars newcomer Max Harwood, Sarah Lancashire, Lauren Patel, Shobna Gulati, Ralph Ineson, Adeel Akhtar, Samuel Bottomley, with Sharon Horgan and Richard E. Grant. The movie reunites the stage show’s original creators: director Jonathan Butterell, writer and lyricist Tom MacRae, and composer Dan Gillespie Sells, who are all making their feature film debuts. Score is composed by Sells and Anne Dudley. Mark Herbert, p.g.a., Peter Carlton, p.g.a., and Arnon Milchan are producing, with Yariv Milchan, Michael Schaefer, Natalie Lehmann, Daniel Battsek, Ollie Madden, Peter Balm, Niall Shamma and Jes Wilkins serving as executive producers. EVERYBODY’S TALKING ABOUT JAMIE will be premiere on Amazon Prime Video on Friday, September 17, 2021.
ONE-LINER: Feature film adaptation of the musical about a teenager from Sheffield, England who wants to be a drag queen.