Trailer: ‘Everybody’s Talking About Jamie’ is the British Drag Musical We Need Right Now
Surely no one expected back in 2000 that the sweet little indie film Billy Elliott would end up pulling in more than $100 million at the box office, and then go on to conquer Broadway as a mega-hit musical. But the more recent runaway success of the musical theater production Everybody’s Talking About Jamie – it debuted in the UK in 2017 to much acclaim – merely confirms that the Brits do love a good tale of a Northern lad (Billy was from County Durham, Jamie is from Sheffield) proudly defying gender stereotypes and going on to win hearts and not-so-small minds all around the world.
Now the sartorially fearless Yorkshire youth of the title is coming to the medium-sized screen, with the September 17 global arrival on Amazon Prime Video of the hotly anticipated film of the same name. The first trailer has just been released, and there’s a charming setup scene where 16-year-old Jamie (played with a captivating, electric charisma by newcomer Max Harwood) reveals his intentions to his best friend by swearing her to secrecy, then pulling out a pair of glittery red pumps, and confessing with a wry smile, “I want to be a drag queen.” She cutely answers with a nervous grin, “Oh my days.”
That Sheffield is a gritty, industrial steel mill town (culturally, it’s well known for turning out synth-pop legends like The Human League and Heaven 17 in the ’80s, and then later Pulp and Arctic Monkeys), would not seem to bode well for gracious acceptance of Jamie’s vocational choice. But we then see Richard E. Grant as Hugh Battersby (that name!) informing the young upstart, “You have just found yourself a mentor” – to which comes the anxiously excited reply, “Yeah, yes, please!”
Jamie then tosses off what will surely prove to be the best line of the whole movie, gratefully addressing that aforementioned confidante with an earnest, “If I don’t say it enough, you’re the best friend a boy who sometimes wants to be a girl could ever wish for.”
And to be sure, though no struggle to be accepted for whom one really is could ever be an easy one, Everybody’s Talking… is clearly working the feel good formula. His own mum is even totally cool with his plans to strut his stuff, staring him straight in the eye and rhetorically querying, “What’s normal, anyway?” (And indeed, what is, what is?) The music, naturally, is as fabulously exuberant as it as exuberantly fabulous, even for those not readily disposed towards the familiar tropes of movie musicals.
Of course, feel good is exactly what we need right now, after eighteen months of mostly feeling bad. And, well, Richard E. Grant is in this film, so it will likely be nothing less than eminently watchable just because of that.
The new normal? Its name is Jamie New.