Everybody’s Talking About Jamie — a fizzing riot of self-expression


Newsletter: FT Weekend

Social realism, fetch the sequins. Kes, put on your Jimmy Choos. There have been stranger combinations than Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, a lavish full-tilt musical about a 16-year-old drag queen in the working-class suburbs of Sheffield, South Yorkshire — but not many. Yet here the movie is, at volume.

As when it premiered on the stage in 2017, the director is Jonathan Butterell (the show then transferred to the West End, Seoul and Tokyo. LA is pending). Before that, it was a BBC documentary about the real-life Jamie Campbell, fictionalised here as the assertively blonde Jamie New (Max Harwood).

“This story really happened,” a title card declares. “Then we added the singing and dancing.” They very much did, the rest a fizzing riot of hi-NRG uplift and peppy choreography, tracing the arc of a supportive single mother, dead-loss absent father, and the perilous road to a Year 11 leavers’ prom our hero simply wishes to attend in heels. The stakes might seem modest — much of the self-discovery is already self-discovered. (Jamie came out as gay long before we start.) But that much is the point — the democratisation of glitz, with no such thing as an ordinary life and a showtune for every school canteen.


On Prime Video from September 17



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