Following a successful West End run in 2017, the musical “Everybody’s Talking About Jamie,” bought from Disney’s 20th Century Studios, has made the jump from stage to screen in the newest hit film on Amazon Prime Video.
This is the second movie musical to land on Prime Video in a year filled with such adaptations. Following Kay Cannon’s “Cinderella,” which attempts to place a modernized spin on a classic fairy tale, “Everybody’s Talking About Jamie” differs by telling the biographical story of an English teenager who wishes to be a drag queen and stands up against the odds to achieve his goal.
The film sets everything up for the audience pretty quickly, as outsider Jamie New, portrayed by Max Harwood, sings to himself about his desire to become a drag queen. Harwood’s solid performance makes Jamie an interesting, likable lead the audience wants to follow.
Jamie is a diligent character, making him a worthy protagonist. Jamie faces plenty of obstacles in trying to achieve his goal. Despite this, he doesn’t let his unaccepting classmates get him down.
There is a real human element to the characters and relationships established, which helps the audience connect to the cast even more. This is shown in the interactions Jamie has with his similarly outcast best friend, a relentless bully and his parents, who each have very different feelings regarding him and his sexuality.
The real scene-stealer of the movie is Hugo Battersby, a retired drag queen portrayed by Richard E. Grant. Hugo, whose stage name is Loco Chanelle, becomes a mentor to Jamie, guiding him on his journey.
Seeing as this film is adapted from a stage musical, it is expected that there will be a few song-and-dance numbers.
The songs in “Everybody’s Talking About Jamie” are composed by Dan Gillespie Sells with lyrics by Tom MacRae. They are all quite catchy, memorable tunes.
One particular highlight comes from “This Was Me.” As sung by Hugo, this musical number showcases his past life as a drag queen through flashbacks that are shot to resemble home movies. The opening number, “And You Don’t Even Know It,” is also quite jaunty, as is the titular song.
The soundtrack will without a doubt remain stuck in the viewer’s head for quite some time after watching the movie. Director Jonathan Butterell and choreographer Kate Prince provide the dance numbers with the right energy, and they add quite a lot to the proceedings. They show what Jamie really wants in his future.
Another unique element of the film is its setting.
“Everybody’s Talking About Jamie” takes place in Sheffield, a city in the South Yorkshire borough of England. The film openly embraces it, giving the audience a peek at English culture.
The way in which Jamie’s school is portrayed is obviously quite different from how an American high school is commonly portrayed in media. For instance, what domestic students call their junior year, the students in this film refer to as “year 11.” It is a refreshing change of pace to see how high schools function in other countries.
All in all, with its excellent songs, likable set of characters, sense of humanity and relevant messages, “Everybody’s Talking About Jamie” is a fun, lively musical and coming-of-age drama.
It is a story that is sure to resonate with members of the LGBTQ+ community, as well as anybody who has ever felt like an outsider in any situation. The stage musical, which is an adaptation of a 2011 BBC Three documentary, clearly translates to the medium of film quite well. It is certain to become a movie that everybody will be talking about years from now.