Everybody's Talking About Jamie captures the essence of a teenager who is trying to find his true self and fit into the world. The performances of the cast are commendable. The way Max Harwood embodies the emotions of the character Jamie, his body language, energy and confidence will have you gagging.
Everybody's Talking about Jamie
Inspired by true events, Everybody's Talking About Jamie follows the emotional journey of Jamie New (Harwood), a teenager from Sheffield, who dreams of becoming a fierce and proud drag queen. He receives endless support from his mother (Lancashire) and his best friend Pritti (Patel), an Indian Muslim with a Hindu first name. But Jamie aka Miss Mimi also has to deal with all the bullying at school and is an unsupportive and estranged father (Ineson).
Not sure about everybody, but we are talking about Jamie. Everybody's Talking About Jamie is a beautiful coming-of-age film based on the life of Jamie Campbell and inspired by the 2011 BBC documentary Jamie: Drag Queen at 16.
The film begins with several long shots of the town where Jamie (Max Hardwood) lives. He is seen riding a bicycle along the streets in rain and dropping off newspapers at houses, giving an idea of the place and his family strata. Jamie is raised by a single mother (Sarah Lancashire) who is very supportive and proud of her son. She even buys him a pair of glossy heels that he always wanted on his 16th birthday. The mother and Jamie's best friend Pritti encourage him to embrace his true identity with the guidance of the local drag legend Miss Loco Chanelle (Richard E Grant) who helps him get his first stage performance. Jamie builds his confidence and accepts the way he is by wearing a dress to the prom. Thereon, he goes on to become a star.
Being a musical film, songs do need a mention. They are very well interwoven into the narrative. Composed by Dan Gillespie Sells, the songs are mostly peppy, upbeat and cheery. The lavish background with colourful and tasteful sets and beautifully choreographed dance sequences will make you move a leg and groove to the music. The song Wall in My Head shares glimpses of Jamie's childhood and how he feels dejected by his father. The video has Jamie narrate the ordeal of being called 'ugly' by his father when he is caught dressing up as a woman. It hits the right chord with the viewers.
The performances of the cast are commendable. The way Max Harwood embodies the emotions of the character, his body language, energy and confidence will have you gagging. He gives his all to the character which makes it even more believable and relatable. You'd empathise with him, seeing him struggle to find his identity and confidence to carry forward the legacy of drag queens forward.
The way the film brings in actual footage of drag queens and the torments they faced in the 1990s - through a song The Legend of Loco Chanel in a videotape where Jamie's mentor is shown reminiscing about his golden days - is thoughtful and creative. The archival footage they show has the actor photoshopped in it well, giving an idea of him living those moments again when he meets Princess Diana and visits his friend in a hospital. The mentor is seen taking Jamie through his journey with a few actual footage photoshopped with Jamie in too. The editors and special effects team have been able to juxtapose the actors in the actual footage well, giving an impression that the two actors were actually present at that time.
The only issue with the film is its long runtime. But it can be overlooked at considering all other brilliant elements in the film.
The film ends with another cheerful song where Jamie is seen singing This is where I belong. After all, all's well that ends well.
The film is based on a 2011 stage musical of the same name. A feel-good film with no overdramatisation, it definitely is worth a watch. It is a story that needs to be told and heard.