Originally planned for the cinema, the film adaptation of the Broadway musical of the same name is being released EVERYBODY’S TALKING ABOUT JAMIE now directly on Amazon Prime and turns out to be a life-affirming, shrill ode to accepting difference as normality – a little like Ryan Murphy’s “The Prom”. We reveal more about this in our review.
OT: Everybody’s Talking About Jamie (UK/USA 2021)
The plot summary
16-year-old Jamie (Max Harwood) has an unusual dream: he has long since come out. His next step is to publicly confess that he really wants to be a drag queen. But Jamie is already often exposed to bullying and exclusion from his classmates. So how is he supposed to live out his love of drag without slipping into complete isolation? Luckily, Jamie not only has an extremely understanding mother (Sarah Lancashire) and best friend (Lauren Patel) to support him, but also immense self-confidence. And so his plan is clear: he wants to show up to the prom in a dress and high heels – whatever the cost.
The parallels between Jonathan Butterell’s flashy drag parade “Everybody’s Talking About Jamie” and Ryan Murphy’s Broadway musical adaptation “The Prom” are obvious. Aside from the fact that the two films are music-focused film versions of highly successful musicals, the themes are also very similar. Both stories take place at a high school. Both stories work toward prom. In both films, the focus is on a main character who has already come out about his homosexuality. And in both films, the happy ending is a public confession of the lifestyle they have chosen. In “Everybody’s Talking About Jamie,” the protagonist pursues his dream of going to the prom as a drag queen. In “The Prom” (Prom, in USA: prom), protagonist Emma wants to go there with her previously kept secret friend and finally present her true love to the public. Jonathan Butterell, who directed the stage version of “Everybody’s Talking About Jamie”, and Ryan Murphy adopt the brightly colored attitude of their role model for the screen adaptation and give their audience a rousing journey through the emotional world of determined teenagers, which is different from Greg Berlanti’s outstanding Coming -of-age film “Love, Simon” have long known what they expect from life. Now they just have to make it clear to the people around them.
For newcomer Max Harwood, “Everybody’s Talking About Jamie” is the first film role that he masters with flying colors.
Anyone who doesn’t feel like giving “Everybody’s Talking About Jamie” a chance after starting our review, for example because they didn’t like “The Prom” or thinks that it would be enough to see one of the two films if As they are so similar, let us be assured at this point: What is particularly convincing here is less the similarities than the subtle nuances of the differences. These start with the drawing of the main character. Although Emma naturally admits to her homosexuality in “The Prom”, she is more of a quiet sort and doesn’t celebrate her being a lesbian nearly as self-confidently as Jamie celebrates his sexuality. The first musical number of the films, performed by the main character himself, fits like a glove with their overall attitude. “Just Breathe” is a quiet ballad in which Emma questions her coming out in strictly conservative Indiana in a very witty way, but with a serious tone and without any visual over-stylization, simply because it would be so much easier for her without it. For “Don’t Even Know It”, the opening number of “Everybody’s Talking About Jamie”, Jamie’s classroom is spontaneously transformed into a pompous glitter and glamor show in which Jamie gathers all of his classmates around him in an eye-catching costume , to join them in belting out an ode to his eccentricity and self-confidence. It is irritating that those who actually belong to the bullies also line up here. Nevertheless, newcomer Max Harwood (“Everybody’s Talking About Jamie” is his first film role!) already proves his enormous screen presence here, with which he will shape the remaining 100 minutes.
“What is particularly convincing here is less the similarities between ‘Everybody’s Talking About Jamie’ and Ryan Murphy’s ‘The Prom’ and more the subtle nuances of the difference.
Nevertheless, “Everybody’s Talking About Jamie” doesn’t come without calm, melancholic tones. Because as determined as Jamie is to pursue his dream of wanting to be a drag queen and to take the wind out of the sails of haters and skeptics on the way there with incredible verve, he also struggles with his decision in the quiet of the room; Simply because at the end of the day he’s just a typical teenager who, despite all his determination, still has to find himself. That’s why the intimate moments between Jamie and his mother and Jamie and his best friend are particularly convincing in “Everybody’s Talking About Jamie”. Although the latter doesn’t hide the fact that she finds Jamie’s drag dream quite worrying; After all, she already notices the hostility her best friend sometimes has to deal with just because he’s gay. Supporting actor Sarah Lancashire (“Yesterday”) On the other hand, she supports her son every second, encourages him and is genuinely proud of his path in life. In complete contrast to her divorced ex-husband and Jamie’s father (Ralph Ineson), who has never accepted his son and even completely rejects him over the course of the film. Of course, there’s something somewhat schematic about all of this. It’s enough to look at the dramaturgical similarity between “The Prom” and “Everybody’s Talking About Jamie” to realize that the author Tom MacRae, who was already responsible for the stage version, feels like he’s just working through certain stages of such a story of self-discovery, simply because certain things are in belong to this context. But perhaps this very fact has an eye-opening purpose: Since both films are based on true events, it is simply shocking that people like Emma and Jamie still face the same prejudices in real life. It was no different in “Love, Simon”.
Richard E. Grant is barely recognizable as himself as a drag queen.
To return to the similarities between “Everybody’s Talking About Jamie” and “The Prom”: In Jamie’s film, too, the main character is helped along the path of self-discovery by people who once followed Jamie’s path themselves and their protégé from similar experiences want to protect – and to do so present themselves to the outside world as equally strong and self-confident. In “The Prom” a group of dazzling Broadway celebrities were responsible for this, and in “Everybody’s Talking About Jamie” Richard E. Grant is now in charge (“Can You Ever Forgive Me?”) in the role of mentor. As the owner of a costume shop who performs as a drag queen in his free time (and who can barely be recognized as Richard E. Grant in his outfit!), Jamie always leads him back on his path when insecurity and worry arise. Grant’s playing is infectiously thrilling in these moments. In one of the best scenes of the film, it is also highly emotional: a musical image montage that combines formative, historical moments that show the path towards the removal of taboos from homosexuality and also points to painful stages such as the AIDS phobia as a result of early Freddie Mercury Death doesn’t let you go even after the credits roll across the screen. In general, singer-songwriter Dan Gillespie Sells, who counts Neil Young and Freddie Mercury among his influences, has done a great job of creating a soundtrack for “Everybody’s Talking About Jamie”, the numbers of which are immediately catchy after listening to them once.
Nevertheless, ‘Everybody’s Talking About Jamie’ is far from being without quiet, melancholic tones. Because as determined as Jamie is to follow his dream of wanting to be a drag queen, he also struggles with his decision in private.”
Every now and then, “Everybody’s Talking About Jamie” threatens to overwhelm its audience. In the musical sequences, Jonathan Butterell relies on exhilarating backdrops and bright colors, in which the focus on the essentials sometimes fades into the background due to the hustle and bustle. Of course, the choreographies fit Jamie’s character perfectly. At the same time, the film could have done with one or two less effervescent numbers in order to make outstanding, quiet moments such as the ballad “My Boy” performed by Jamie’s mother stand out a little more. Nevertheless, in the end everything largely fits together. And apart from its serious tones, “Everybody’s Talking About Jamie” is a fantastic feel-good film that brings a little glitz and glamor to this cold, gray time of year.
Conclusion: After “The Prom”, “Everybody’s Talking About Jamie” is the second, strong, feel-good musical about the (second) coming out of a highly likeable main character, whose self-confidence is reflected in the sometimes overwhelming pomp of the production and the audience subsequently various should bring catchy tunes.
“Everybody’s Talking About Jamie” is now available to stream on Amazon Prime.