Films that start out on the stage, especially musicals, are usually hit or miss when they are transferred to the big screen. Lucky for you, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie is a hit! It’s set out in the real world instead of just keeping it as a stage production. It incorporates its musical numbers into a fantastic fanciful extension of its characters’ lives. However, it’s not all fun and games; some songs will make you angry at what Jamie is dealing with, and one in particular will make you weep as his loving mother gives voice to her pain. This movie is not a melodrama but instead a balanced look at being different in a small town. 

Everybody’s Talking About Jamie follows Jamie New (Max Harwood), a good-looking teenager from Sheffield. He dreams of life on stage as a fierce and fabulous drag queen. He and his classmates are in the final year of their version of high school. They get to graduate at sixteen. With the help of a less than inspiring career advisor in high heel knockoffs, Miss Hedge (Sharon Horgan), the graduating class is planning their careers. Most of the kids want to be famous YouTube stars or famous footballers. Miss Hedge does her best to bring them down to earth with her version of reality. Jamie contemplates revealing his secret career ambition. They already know he is gay. They just don’t know about his love of drag. His best friend Pritti (Lauren Patel) is the smart one in the class, headed to university and ultimately becoming a doctor. She is the only one that knows his secret and supports him in his decision to do drag. He also has the support of his loving mum, Margaret (Sarah Lancashire). She showers him with her endless backing to offset his cold and distant father, Wayne (Ralph Ineson). 

Local drag legend Miss Loco Chanelle (Richard E. Grant) mentors him toward his debut stage performance. After his first taste of drag on the stage, Jamie wants to do the ultimate event and go to his senior prom in a dress. Unfortunately, he has to go against some ignorant school kids led by Dean Pastor (Samuel Bottomley). They attempt to rain on his spectacular parade. Using memorable and colorful musical numbers, Jamie and his town inspire one another to be more accepting. This allows Jamie to step out of the darkness in style and into the spotlight.

This film deals with painful topics such as fear of rejection and proudly stepping into who you were meant to be. It doesn’t come across as heavy-handed, instead, because of the music, it makes a lasting impression of what Jamie and his friends and family go through. All of it was based on the real-life and loving relationship between well-known drag queen Fifi La True aka Jamie Campbell, and his beloved mother, Margaret. His act of wearing drag to his prom was covered in a documentary that led to a successful Westend musical. That led to this film, and as they say, the rest is history. Jamie’s story proves that it may be hell to march to the beat of your own drummer, but when you do, the waves you create may surprise you. 

I give Everybody’s Talking About Jamie a 4.5-star rating. It’s an uplifting and fun musical that spotlights the need to overcome prejudice. And the soundtrack can easily be cranked up loud to help us celebrate the last of this hot summer. 

Directed by: Jonathan Butterell

Written by: Tom MacRae

Rated: PG-13

Selig Rating: 4.5 Stars

Running Time: 1h 55min

Drama / Musical

Limited Theatrical Release: September 10th and Amazon Prime

Starring: Max Harwood, Sarah Lancashire, Lauren Patel, Shobna Gulati, Ralph Ineson, Adeel Akhtar, Samuel Bottomley, with Sharon Horgan and Richard E. Grant

The Selig Rating Scale:

5 Stars – Excellent movie, well worth the price.

4 Stars – Good movie

3 Stars – OK movie

2 Stars – No need to rush. Save it for a rainy day.

1 Star – Good that I saw it on the big screen but wish I hadn’t paid for it.

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