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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Everybody's Talking About Jamie is an uplifting biographical musical comedy-drama with themes around sexuality, gender, and societal acceptance of LGBTQ+ identities. The movie is adapted from a successful stage show and centers around 16-year-old Jamie (Max Harwood) who is determined to fulfill his dreams of becoming a drag queen. The movie also touches upon divorce and absentee parents. There is some strong language, including "s--t" and "f--king," as well as homophobic slurs and instances of verbal bullying. In one scene, a character is shoved to the floor resulting in a bloody nose. There is passing mention of AIDS and deaths related to the illness. Although drinking does not factor strongly, an underage character drinks alcohol on one occasion. Overall Jamie is seen to have supportive people around him and overcomes obstacles fairly quickly, keeping the mood light and celebratory for much of the movie. This is reflected in slick, energetic musical numbers that should appeal to all ages, from teens upward.
What's the story?
In EVERYBODY'S TALKING ABOUT JAMIE, 16-year-old Jamie New (Max Harwood) doesn't quite fit in with the other teens in his neighborhood. But he knows he's special, and with the help of his devoted mother, Margaret (Sarah Lancashire), and loving friends, he is determined to overcome discrimination to follow his dreams -- and finally come out as a drag queen at prom!
Is it any good?
First-time film director Jonathan Butterell seamlessly takes his original stage version to the big screen with this feel-good musical. Everybody's Talking About Jamie's musical numbers are phenomenal -- slickly choreographed and full of life. Harwood's Jamie breaks the fourth wall almost immediately, creating a more intimate, theater-like relationship with viewers. It's a confident debut from Harwood in his first ever film role, playing Jamie as vibrant, cheeky, but also slightly haunted. Similarly new to the big screen, Lauren Patel has a wonderfully warm presence, and beautifully angelic voice, as Jamie's similarly outcast best friend, Pritti. Elsewhere, Richard E. Grant is perfectly cast as older drag queen Loco Chanel, all rose-tinted daydreams of his former glory and snarky but kind mentorship to Jamie's blossoming drag persona, Mimi Me. Sarah Lancashire, however, borderline steals the show as Jamie's supportive mother. Her flashes of concern and confusion never quite breaking her unwavering commitment to her son's happiness.
The dance routines are polished to perfection. Filmed from overhead angles and within stunning set pieces that really mark this film as an impressive feat of British cinema. There's not a mistimed step to be seen. If the theme song isn't still in your head a week later, it's only because one of the other catchy numbers, like Work of Art, has beaten it to the forefront. People will absolutely be talking about Jamie for years to come.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how Jamie is shaped by the behavior and views of those around him in Everybody's Talking About Jamie. Who are the positive influences on Jamie, and who are the negative? How did Jamie handle both?
The film touches briefly on LGBTQ+ history. What did it teach about struggles of the past? Do you think attitudes toward sexuality and gender have changed over the decades. If so, how?
Discuss the strong language used in the movie. Did it seem necessary, or excessive? What did it contribute to the movie?
Did the characters fall into any stereotypes, and were these challenged as the movie went on? Why must we be careful of stereotypes?
- In theaters: September 10, 2021
- On DVD or streaming: September 17, 2021
- Cast: Max Harwood, Lauren Patel, Sarah Lancashire
- Director: Jonathan Butterell
- Studio: Amazon Studios
- Genre: Musical
- Topics: Friendship, High School, Misfits and Underdogs, Music and Sing-Along
- Character strengths: Courage, Perseverance
- Run time: 115 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: thematic elements, strong language, and suggestive material
- Awards/Honors: Common Sense Selection
- Last updated: September 7, 2021
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