A familiar coming-of-age tale, “Everybody’s Talking About Jamie” is a stage-to-screen adaptation of a stage musical which in turn is based on a book by Tom MacRae. Inspired by the 2011 British TV documentary “2011 Jamie: Drag Queen”, the story follows Jamie Campbell’s story. The story was also made into a London West End stage musical. The true-life story is about a schoolboy, Jamie Campbell who overcomes prejudice and bullying and fulfils his dream of becoming a drag queen.
While we see him struggle with his peers bullying him, and seemingly a lot of thought and heart went into writing and making these parts, what stands out is the relationship between Jamie and his mum, Margaret. Jamie’s father walked out on them both years ago, because he was disappointed that his son was not the sports-mad lad he wanted his son to be. His mother’s love grows and fills the void left by the other parent.
In his journey to becoming the drag queen he dreams of being, Jamie gets mentored by a retired drag queen. The movie shows his obstacles as a harsh, disapproving teacher and a lack of money. Despite the bullying and disapproval, Jamie decides to pursue his dream of becoming a drag queen rather than hide his true self. He gets help from his best friend and aspiring doctor, Pritti, and his drag mentor, Hugo.
A new addition to the narrative was the song by drag shop owner Hugo, who in one song shows the history of the gay community and what they had to endure during the AIDS crisis, the protests, the death of Freddie Mercury, and police arresting queer community clubgoers. The song also featured the powerful moment when Princess Diana talked with AIDS patients. It shows a small part of the past struggles, but there might be a lot of history that the young LGBTQ community might not have fully acknowledged and understood. Rightly so, after this history lesson, Jamie tells his friend that drag queens aren’t just queens—they’re warrior queens, revolutionaries!
This song was a heartwarming moment that was handled with the necessary honesty and vulnerability, much like the scene where Jamie is nervous about performing as a drag queen for the first time.Another similar heartfelt moment was watching (and listening to) Margaret as she poured her heart out while singing about her son. A bit of trivia: all the actors did their own singing, and Hugo, played by Richard E. Grant, to prepare for his role, watched 11 seasons of RuPaul’s Drag Race in three weeks.
Directed by Jonathan Butterell, who also directed the London stage show, this musical, “Everybody’s Talking About Jamie”, is a celebration of queerness and drag, and fans of the musicals, as well as queer kids and their parents, are sure to have fun watching this one! Check out the trailer here.