This is the movie musical adaptation everyone should be talking about, and you don’t even know it.
Newcomer Max Harwood shines very brightly, as does the rest of the cast.
Harwood owns the role of Jamie New, and his performance stands out in this movie musical.
Everybody’s Talking About Jamie follows Jamie New, a 16-year-old boy who is gay and wants to become a drag queen.
Harwoods chemistry electrifies with his on-screen mother (Sarah Lancashire) and his classmate and best friend Pritti (Lauren Patel).
These scenes highlighted the beauty of this story. Based on actual events, Jamie New became a drag queen at the age of 16.
The strength portrayed by Harwood and the rest of the case to tell this story is featured throughout the film’s entirety.
With many references to the old drag queens and their struggle to fit in and survive, the film takes on severe topics that balance out the comedy quite well.
Some of the musical numbers feel pretty over the top and not in a good way.
“Work Of Art” always stands out when listening to the original, and the over-production completely ruined a remarkable moment in the story.
“Work of Art” was not the only piece of music that changed for the worse.
The removal of two essential songs entitled “Limited Edition Prom Night Special” and “Ugly In This Ugly World” left a feeling of emptiness. These two songs are instrumental to the plot of the original.
More minor changes to music, like in the opening number “Don’t Even Know It,” didn’t make as much of a difference.
As a die-hard fan of the original musical, I was unpleased with some of the changes, but I digress.
The musical performances impressed nonetheless, and all of the voices (especially Harwood, Patel, and Lancashire’s) displayed immense talent.
The story itself contains plenty of cliches, but the beauty comes through with the performances and production itself.
As an adaptation of a stage musical, the production value shines.
The set and costume choices were terrific, and the changes in some of the plot elements and dialogue were welcome.
One of the most emotional additional scenes happened during Lancashire’s superb performance of “He’s My Boy.”
Instead of focusing on Margaret New, the scene follows Jamie going through an emotional breakdown, leaving him with a bloody nose and essentially no father.
He finds solace in his mentor, Hugo, and gains the courage to go home with his bloody nose to face his mom and talk about her lying.
The addition of Jamie’s father in this scene made for a more emotional reunion with his mom.
“My Man Your Boy” became one of the best songs in the whole movie, and I often overlooked it before.
I’m so glad that the emotions of experiencing this story live transcended well to the screen, and the credit for that goes to the performances, but also the directing.
Jonathan Butterell directed the original musical and made his directorial film debut directing the adaptation, and he did a brilliant job.
The prom scene changed for the better, and “Out of The Darkness” became a beautiful final musical number.
Another issue I had, however, was the lack of screentime for Ray. Ray’s character is instrumental to Jamie’s Support, and the feeling got pushed to the background.
I loved Shobna Gulati as Ray, but I wish that she had more to do (and if Limited Edition Prom Night Special weren’t cut, she would’ve had more to do).
Sharon Horgan played a wonderfully menacing Miss Hedge, and the casting couldn’t have been more perfect (I just wish her song contained less overproduction, as mentioned earlier).
Richard E. Grant plays Hugo, Jamie’s drag mentor, and steals every scene that he is in. Grant is a brilliant Hugo.
Samuel Bottomley as Dean, Jamie’s bully, and Ralph Ineson as Jamie’s estranged dad round out the cast.
These two characters provide the brunt of the homophobia exampled throughout the film and added to the challenges faced by Jamie.
In a beautifully done montage during “Wall in My Head,” Jamie remembers all of the difficult things that he experienced from his childhood.
The scenes echo the song’s lyrics beautifully (as they did throughout the musical), and the emotions that Harwood portrayed seem so real.
The beauty of this movie-musical is unmatched, and I loved seeing the characters from the musical come to life on screen.
So Fanatics! If you haven’t watched it yet, will you be watching Everybody’s Talking About Jamie?
Everybody’s Talking About Jamie is now streaming on Amazon Prime and is showing in select theatres.
Michael Stack is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.