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Friday, September 17, 2021

Everybody’s Talking About Jamie

Director: Jonathan Butterell

Studio:Amazon Studios

Everybody’s Talking About Jamie is a dazzling musical journey the audience will never forget!

There are times that people love and want to pursue their careers, some don’t, but it doesn't mean you have to choose which one fits your style. Sometimes, there’s plenty of options to choose from. There’s always a career for you and your little heart desires. This biographical-musical drama flick is based on the Broadway musical written by Dan Gillespie Sells and Tom MacRae, the latter of whom also wrote the lyrics to this musical and contributed the film as a screenwriter. Having been directed by Jonathan Butterell, the film features main leading actor Max Harwood, alongside Sarah Lancashire, Lauren Patel, and Richard E. Grant in their supporting roles.

Everybody's Talking About Jamie follows a teenager named Jamie New whose secret career ambition is to become a fierce and proud drag queen. His best friend Pritti and his loving mother shower him with endless support, while local drag legend Miss Loco Chanelle mentors him. But the main problem is that Jamie also has to contend with some unsupportive people, including his estranged father, who wanted to ruin his dreams. With such rousing and colourful musical numbers being displayed, Jamie and his community inspire one another on how to overcome prejudice, understand the power of acceptance, and learn how to step out of the darkness.

This film serves as Jonathan Butterell’s directorial debut. A little known fact is he’s an English choreographer and stage director with his professional working-history in the West End, on Broadway, and Off-Broadway mainstreams. His onstage directing experiences from time to time lead him to direct Everybody's Talking About Jamie under the writers and the producers’ supervision. He certainly knows working a motion picture can be difficult and classy, but his onstage directorial leadership would help him achieve his own way of making musical movies.

Actor Max Harwood portrays his main role as Jamie New, a sixteen-year-old teenager who wants to be a sensational drag queen, while actress Lauren Patel joins the spotlight as Jaime’s best friend Pritti Pasha. This is Max Harwood’s acting debut in a Hollywood feature film. Harwood simply gives it all on best acting skills when it comes to portraying a drag queen character. Harwood knows This chemistry between Harwood and Patel (as Jamie and Pritti) has furtherly backed up the cultural, central theme that anyone can be completely different to each other but still have strong and supportive relationships like real friendships would purposely define.

The performances from English actors Sarah Lancashire (Coronation Street) and Richard E. Grant (Logan, Can You Ever Forgive Me?) are very wonderful and heartwarming. Lancanshire portrays her role as Jamie’s supportive mother while Grant steals the spotlight as Jamie’s mentor Miss Loco Chanelle. They both displayed real courage and real-deal family support towards the main character as they always do what they really love to do: accepting, helping, and loving someone. That’s the main task Lancashire and Grant are willing to do under Butterell’s direction and for the sake of the film’s plot.

This musical is highly comparable to Lin-Maneul Miranda’s In the Heights. The choreography and the music are incredibly beautiful, thanks to Butterell’s screen captive direction. The actors in the film are so talented, bringing the life, the color, and the raw energy that are highly unmistakable for the film’s depth and tone. The film’s storyline looks very modern, and gloriously bright, when explaining current issues about social acceptances and messages regarding LGBQT. And the story is well-written and relevant: it is mainly about loving and being who you are, no matter what. Similar to what Mister Rogers would always say, “I like you just the way you are.” This deep-telling message really resonates with our society nowadays, especially present days.

Also appearing in the film are Ralph Ineson (Game of Thrones, Harry Potter films) as Jamie’s estranged and unsupportive father, Samuel Bottomley (CBBC’s Rocket's Island) as one of Jamie’s school bullies, Sharon Hogan (HBO’s Divorce) as instructor and uninspired career advisor Miss Hedge, Shobna Gulati (Loose Women) as Margaret's close friend Ray, and Adeel Akhtar as the school principal Iman Masood.

Everybody's Talking About Jamie is a great two-hour musical movie, if not better. The direction, the cast, the choreography, and the musical numbers have really excelled in every direction and in every scenery. I’m not kidding, this musical film is deeply a must for all. I would give the director, Max Harwood, and Lauren Patel two thumb-ups on their respective roles and duties. This may be one of the greatest musicals anyone ever seen in one’s own viewing pleasures, maybe Oscar worthy to add to that subject. If you’re planning on selecting any film, this film is a ticket worth your time and money just like In the Heights film. If you have the chance, you should go and watch this film, like right now. Period!


(Review by Henry Pham)

Audio from the interview of Everybody's Talking about Jamie by Henry Pham

August 16th, 2021 which is a Monday at Adolphus Hotel in Downtown Dallas at 300pm. The director is Jonathan Butterell plus two actors Max Harwood and Lauren Patel.

Part 1

Part 2

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