The big (and small) screen adaptation of the award winning, trailblazing West End musical Everybody’s Talking About Jamie finally comes to Amazon Prime. A joyous grandstand of a film that will be universally prescient, with no doubt that it’s been worth the wait. Be prepared to be filled with pride, and love, and get ready to tap those toes along to one of the catchiest soundtracks of the year.
Written by Alex Gilston
Based on a musical which is based on a true story, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie tells the story of Jamie New (Max Harwood) who lives at home with their mother Margaret New (Sarah Lancahsire). He is in his last year of high school, and what comes with that is contemplating your dreams and aspirations. Jamie New has one dream and one dream only and that is to be a drag queen. Jamie’s mum who is undeniably supportive of this dream, more so than Jamie’s father who left them both years ago, gets them a pair of red high heels for his 16th birthday. This sets his dream into motion, but they aren’t fully prepared for the setbacks they’ll face from their fellow students, teachers, and even their own Dad.
The film starts off with the first of a collection of sparkling ensemble numbers. It really throws you into the narrative and gets you on board and rooting for Jamie straight away. Some of the ensemble sequences are dream-like sequences and this gives the film a theatrical feel, and the suspension of disbelief really drives home that Jamie has aspirations beyond their life at that moment. One of the film's best and most poignant musical numbers comes from Richard E. Grant who plays Jamie’s Drag Queen mentor Loco Chanelle. This Was Me not only acts as inspiration for Jamie’s character but also as a celebration of the icons of the LGBTQ+ movement over the years. A tribute not only to the trailblazers but also to those we lost on the journey too. You’ll be forgiven for shedding a tear at this moment in the film given its emotional weight.
All of the aspects that make the stage show work so well are translated pitch perfectly to the screen adaptation, the musical numbers, the setting, the costumes, and the newcomers, along with the seasoned members of the cast all come together to make a tasty cocktail of elements that will be adored by film and musical fans alike.
Though the film lacks any real problems of note, considering it's based on a true story some of the final narrative outcomes seem a bit too cherry on top of the fully iced cake. Even the irredeemable father gets his own redeemable moment, which could strike a chord with audiences who relate to the story. Although these aspects of the story were added to round out the narrative more satisfyingly, it just ends up feeling a little too unrealistic.
Everybody’s Talking About Jamie is unequivocally the best movie musical of the year, which on paper is a big thing if you compare some of the films it's been up against. It’s tale of love and acceptance will ring all to true with the LGBTQ+ community, and its importance and relevance can not be understated. This film is another in a long line of films that goes leaps and bounds to help with LGBTQ+ representation on the big screen, and although it's really great how much this film has been marketed up to its release you can’t help but feel disappointed that it’s only getting a limited cinema release. All in all it’s a pride celebration wrapped up in wonderful performances, and glorious musical numbers. In a film world full of dark thrillers and heavy dramas, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie is a ray of light and a source of true joy.