Amazon’s “Everybody’s Talking About Jamie” is Flamboyant Fun (Review)

There are a lot of genuinely impressive elements about “Everybody’s Talking About Jamie.”

For starters, it is the first feature film for director Jonathan Butterell and the first leading role for star Max Harwood who plays the title character, Jamie Campbell.

As a flamboyant teenager in Sheffield, England, who dreams of becoming a drag queen, Jamie lives with his loving single mother Margaret (Sarah Lancashire). She supports him with all her heart and would do anything to help him achieve his goals, standing as the polar opposite of his homophobic and distant father, Wayne (Ralph Ineson).

Jamie doesn’t have many friends at school except for Pritti (Lauren Patel), a young Muslim girl who also gets mistreated by bullies at school and stands in solidarity with him even when she doesn’t fully understand his plans.

Openly gay and turning 16, Jamie decides he wants to shake things up and go to his school’s prom in a dress. But can he pull it off without being attacked or blocked by his principal and a stern teacher (“Catastrophe” star Sharon Horgan)?

Jamie ends up getting all the help he needs from a local shop owner named Hugo (Richard E. Grant), who just so happens to have stormed area stages in his younger years as a drag queen named Loco Chanelle. It give him the father figure he’s never had and the confidence to show the world (or at least the residents of Sheffield) who he really is.

Originally a hit musical on London’s West End back in 2017, Butterell’s adaptation is lively, charming, and bursting with bold colors (especially in the stunning 4K HDR transfer available to stream). The songs by Tom MacRae and Dan Gillespie Sells are memorable and filmed in very creative ways that help to bring a little of that stage magic to the screen. Throw in a sharp score from composer Anne Dudley from the Art of Noise and you’ve got the the whole package.

One one hand, it’s a shame that this is one of many films that ended up losing a larger planned theatrical release due to COVID-19. 20th Century Studios ended up selling the film off to Amazon who took it for a global release. I can’t help but feel like more people than ever are going to end up seeing it now and that helps balance out the disappointment of not seeing it on the big screen.

Everybody’s Talking About Jamie” is available to stream now from Amazon Prime Video, as is the BBC documentary that inspired the musical, “Jamie: Drag Queen at 16.”

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