If you’re not quite ready to exit the summer without a dash of excitement, and a little bit of sparkle, then turn your attention to Everybody’s Talking About Jamie – a new, British musical comedy, which makes its worldwide debut today. The movie – directed by Jonathan Butterell – is based on a true story, and tells the tale of Jamie New – a teenager who dreams of going to his high school prom in drag.
Everybody’s Talking About Jamie stars Max Harwood, Lauren Patel, Sarah Lancashire, Shobna Gulati, Richard E. Grant, and Sharon Horgan. The movie opened in select cinemas in the US last week, but for the rest of the world, Amazon Prime Video is where you will find it, after the streaming giant purchased the global rights to the movie.
In the film, 16-year-old Jamie New is a high school student, living in Sheffield. He’s entering a stage in his life where he will have to make decisions about his future, and one of these decisions involves his forthcoming prom.
Jamie wants to buck the trend, embrace his queerness, and attend his prom in drag. However, in order to do this, he needs to learn how to dress, how to work the stage, and how to find his inner queen.
But even if he achieves all this, can he really go to prom in drag? This is the question Jamie will need to answer, as he faces up to the doubters and naysayers to find his true self.
Now, even if you’ve not watched any of the promotional material for Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, chances are you will be familiar with the story. Jamie’s teen-to-drag queen tale has previously been told via a BBC 3 documentary, which in turn inspired a stage musical.
This movie is based on the musical, which has already proved to be a smash-hit on the theatre scene. It comes as no surprise then, that this feature-length adaptation is also a hit and is something you will definitely want to check out this weekend.
Everybody’s Talking About Jamie is fun, hilarious, colourful, and by gosh, it’s loud and proud. Show your kids, show your granny, show your homophobic next-door neighbour – this film might change a few opinions, it may not, but at the very least, it’s guaranteed to provide a couple hours of solid entertainment and have you humming along.
I firmly believe that musicals live and die on the strength of their tunes. A musical can look great, and boast the best choreography imaginable, but if it is front-loaded with duff songs, it will fall at the first hurdle.
Everybody’s Talking About Jamie passes the first (and greatest) test, because it showcases a fantastic collection of music. The songs are bright, pop ditties, which are instantly likeable, and are guaranteed to have audiences tapping their toes, swinging their hips, and backflipping off the sofa.
The movie then moves forward to pass its second test, which is to tell a bloody good story. You can’t just have songs in a musical, you need something to hang them on, and Everybody’s Talking About Jamie has a well-written narrative, jam-packed with uplifting, inspiring, empowering, and touching moments.
The script is filled with fully-fleshed-out characters, the dialogue is sharp and contemporary, and there is a heartfelt message spliced into every inch of film. There is also plenty of social commentary, from references to the AIDS crisis to the ongoing fight for LGBTQ+ rights.
So, this film ticks the box for music, it more than fills the quota when it comes to story, but does it have anything else up its sleeve? Indeed it does, including a fantastic lead performance from Max Harwood; plenty of laughs, with some truly chucklesome one-liners; and a bunch of drag-cameos for good measure.
Oh, and if that wasn’t enough, Richard E. Grant is on fine form as Hugo Battersby – the outrageously brilliant mentor, who helps Jamie become the queen he is destined to be – and Sarah Lancashire is excellent as Jamie’s eternally supportive mother. These two actors add so much to the movie, and their involvement can’t be overstated.
So, if all of the above hasn’t convinced you to drop what you’re doing, slap on some rouge, and watch Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, then in all honesty, you are probably beyond help. But as I’m not one for giving up on seemingly hopeless cases, however stubborn they are, I’ll say it once again: watch this movie.
It doesn’t matter if you’ve never attended a drag show, aren’t familiar with the work of RuPaul, or your only experience with fake tits and a wig comes from watching a pantomime, this movie will equip you with all of the knowledge you need. Know nothing? No problem – Everybody’s Talking About Jamie has got your back.
Everybody’s Talking About Jamie is a bright, bold, and bloody marvellous movie. It is British cinema at its finest, from a director who knows how to tell a ruddy good story.
If you want something uplifting and touching to watch over the weekend, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie is the movie for you. There’s a reason everybody is talking about this film, so don’t sit on it, get it watched, and tell your mates to watch it too.