Director Jonathan Butterell opens the movie in a sublime way to prepare his audience for what they’re about to experience. The screen reads, “This story really happened, then we added the singing and the dancing.” What a perfect way to set you up for the entertainment you’re about to have propelled toward you.
“Everybody’s Talking About Jamie” is not only inspired by actual events but was also a hit musical in London’s West End. Jamie is played beautifully by Max Harwood. Regarding Harwood, this is, unbelievably, his first film, but not surprisingly, he already has three more films in post-production.
Anyway, young Jamie turns sixteen today. He’s excited about that, but sadly, it’s raining in his working-class town of Sheffield, England, and, birthday or not, he still has to work on his paper route. But that’s fine with him. He’s doing this for a good reason. His single mother, Margaret (Sarah Lancashire), can’t afford the extravagant items he wants, beautiful clothing and shoes. He’s desperate for these items so he can eventually come out as who he truly is and be who he wants to be. Jamie was born a male, but that’s not what’s inside of him. He’s a boy but wants to be a Drag Queen.
When sitting in his Careers class, he fantasizes about his future. His teacher, Miss Hedge (Sharon Horgan), asks him what job he hopes to have when school’s out. Nothing pleases him more than the idea of being on the stage with lights so bright they practically burn his skin and an audience cheering his name and his talents. Thinking she’s doing her students a favor, she discourages dreams of performance art. She would prefer they “keep it real.”
He doesn’t care what she thinks of his objectives in life. He won’t be deterred. Or will he? You’ll see. Of course, we’re near a musical number in this scene, of which the film has many. For all of them, the choreography is fantastic with flashy clothes and confident anthems. Singers and dancers come out of nowhere, so expect them at any time. His best friend, Pritti (Lauren Patel), always encourages him. When he’s made fun of by the school bully, Dean (Samuel Bottomley), she always makes him feel better. She encourages him to come out, something he wants to do but is also terrified of. You’ll see why in flashbacks of him with his now-absent father (Ralph Ineson). Speaking of, Margaret continually attempts to make up for that loss. She does things she shouldn’t, but they’re all well-intentioned. Today, she gets him his first pair of high heels, which are red and rather glittery.
With those showstoppers, he needs an outfit to match. On the hunt for said outfit, he meets Hugo, also known as Miss Loco Chanelle, a legend in the Drag Queen world. Hugo is played most gloriously by Richard E. Grant. Hugo owns the shop that has all the clothing Jamie has been saving up to buy. He’s dazzled by Jamie when Jamie tells him that he doesn’t WANT to be a Drag Queen; he HAS to be. This blows Hugo away. So much so that he offers to mentor the youngster. Loco gives him a history on Loco Chanelle and gets started on his creation right away. He explains to Jamie that he needs to find a name, which will help to make his new charge a “Warrior Queen.”
“Everybody’s Talking About Jamie” is awe-inspiring for the dancing, the songs and for the brave and daring acting. It’s also a story of change and acceptance. I recommend it be seen, even on the big screen.
*On Amazon Prime 9/17
Everybody’s Talking About Jamie
Directed by: Jonathan Butterell
Written by: Tom MacRae
Starring: Max Harwood, Sarah Lancashire, Lauren Patel, Shobna Gulati, Ralph Ineson, Adeel Akhtar, Samuel Bottomley, with Sharon Horgan and Richard E. Grant
Run Time: 1h 55min
Genres: Drama, Musical
Amazon Studios is excited to announce that audiences will have the chance to see the joyful and dazzling new film EVERYBODY’S TALKING ABOUT JAMIE on the big screen starting September 10 at the following exclusive US locations!
The Landmark (Los Angeles, CA)
Cinepolis Chelsea (New York, NY)
Landmark Century Centre (Chicago, IL)
Century 9 (San Francisco, CA)
Angelika Dallas (Dallas, TX)
Landmark Merrick Park (Miami, FL)
Plaza (Atlanta, GA)
PFS Bourse (Philadelphia, PA)
AFI Silver Theatre (Washington, DC)
Coolidge (Boston, MA)
Emagine Royal Oak (Detroit, MI)
Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar (Austin, TX)
Cinemark Lincoln Square Bellevue (Seattle, WA)
Showplace ICON Theatres at West End (Minneapolis, MN)