Everybody's Talking About Jamie | Review


From real-life to the stage, Jamie Campbell's story has reached millions and will now get a chance to launch even further in its big-screen adaptation from director Jonathan Butterell. In his debut as a film director, Butterell has hit the jackpot, adapting the stage show he developed with Dan Gillespie Sells and Tom McRae, who both get writing credit on the film for penning the screenplay. There's something to be said for the original creative team getting to be the ones to lead the way as the film gets the same glamourous treatment as the show. 

It's stylish, experimenting with colour and set pieces that add a layer to the dreary backdrop of England. Based on a true story, Jamie New is an aspiring drag queen with big dreams of breaking out of Sheffield and into the big time as a performer. It has a fantastic cast with British darlings such as Richard E Grant, Sarah Lancashire and Sharon Horgan taking on supporting roles opposite Max Harwood's debut as Jamie New. Lauren Patel also has a fantastic breakout into the industry as Pritti Pasha, New's best friend and ultimate support. 

There tends to be repetition in the way the movie musical is captured, and Everybody's Talking About Jamie does little to wiggle from that expectation. There's glitz and glamour that's present in every well-loved show, but the film would've benefitted from the grit that's at the heart of it. Although overall a feel-good story, there's always a yearning for musicals to lean a little harder into their subject matter, particularly with one as weighty and pertinent as sexuality and identity. It's not without sensitivity to its subject matter at all, however, because Richard E Grant's role is a surrogate for all the history of the LGBTQ+ struggle that has come before the present day. There's a gorgeous sequence that aims to alter the tone slightly, and it would've been nice for this to be a bit more persistent in the main narrative. When it does hit the emotion, it needs space to breathe as heightened heartfelt moments storm through at a fast pace, with the film condensing a 2-hour 40-minute show into a sleek cinematic 1 hour 55 minutes. 

Ultimately, Everybody's Talking About Jamie should be a real crowd-pleaser as it is filled with enough beauty, dynamics and emotion for it to resonate with audiences the same way the show does eight times a week. It offers a remedy for the times we are living within, which is precisely why the story has endured for so long, both on stage and beyond. 

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