Everybody's Talking About Jamie (c) Amazon Studios
Film: Everybody’s Talking About Jamie In Cinemas and on Amazon Prime
Premise: Jamie New (Max Harwood) is a young, flamboyant drag queen wannabee living in a small British town, and on his 16th birthday, he gets a pair of high heels from his supportive, loving mother (Sarah Lancashire). He doesn’t have the nerve to actually wear them to school, but he does plans to wear them to the prom. Going into a drag costume shop, he meets Hugo (Richard E. Grant) who not only agrees to make Jamie a prom dress, but also convinces him to make his drag debut at a local club. Jamie may have support from his mum and best friend (Lauren Patel), but he still has to face obstacles from the likes of a strict teacher, a school bully and an absent father.
My Take: In the last five years, teenage outsiders have had a prominent role in Broadway musicals like “Mean Girls,” “Be More Chill,” “The Prom” and “Dear Evan Hansen.” But this British show, which has yet to play in New York, treats its hero not as a victim but as a warrior. Even though they deal with totally different themes, a comparison to the film version of “Evan Hansen” is inevitable as they opened a week from each other. “Jamie” wins hands down because the lead character is so much more likeable. But with that said, “Jamie” never breaks away from the overly familiar, teen-outsider plot structure, even ending at a prom. Still, with its cheeky attitude, a fearless performance by Max Harwood and catchy songs, this film succeeds where other recent movie musicals have not.
VIP: Richard E. Grant. As the grumpy tailor Hugo Battersby, Grant is a hoot, playing a more upbeat version of his Oscar-nominated, gay sidekick character in “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” But when Hugo’s drag persona Loco Chanelle makes her appearance, Grant steals the movie. The Oscars usually like their gays more tragic, but Grant should definitely be in the running again this year, high heels and all.