Review round-up: Everybody's Talking About Jamie movie opens to US critics
You'll have to wait a little bit longer for our review...
A select coterie of reviewers was able to publish reviews of Everybody's Talking About Jamie – which is due to be released on Amazon Prime next month – today after the film was screened at Outfest in the US (so you'll have to wait for our verdict for now, but be sure to keep an eye out for all of our features highlighting the key differences between stage and screen!). We round-up some of these early US reviews.
Pete Hammond, Deadline
"The fact that it's all happened — footage of the real-life people is shown over the end credits — gives it gravitas. Also impressive considering the results is the fact that director Jonathan Butterell, who comes from the stage including the original production of Jamie, along with writer Tom MacRae and composer Dan Gillespie-Sells are first-timers in terms of filmmaking. They have acquitted themselves nicely here by keeping the musical grounded and rather simple and sincere, avoiding clichés and serving as a feel-good tonic in tough times."
"Harwood never had acted before landing this plum gig, and he is thoroughly engaging, confident in his singing and fledgling showmanship and clearly understanding the core of this kid. Similarly fine is Lauren Patel as his best friend Pritti, along with a decent supporting cast playing the other teens."
David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter
"What distinguishes the material from many similar gay coming-of-age stories is that coming out isn't a factor. Jamie has been out and proud for some time, and he responds to the taunts of obnoxious class smartass Dean (Samuel Bottomley) at school by basically saying, 'Yeah, I'm gay, what of it?'"
"Sells and MacRae's songs perhaps overload on the triumphant pop anthems of defiant self-worth, which are catchy but become slightly interchangeable, so the few more intimate numbers are a welcome change. The most notable of them involve Lancashire (so terrific in the Yorkshire cop series Happy Valley), whose careworn Margaret is all heart."
Tim Grierson, Screen Daily
"The songs range from peppy uptempo numbers to affecting ballads, with the latter category highlighted by "This Was Me", a new composition written for the film in which an ageing shopkeeper, Hugo (Grant), who used to be a drag queen reflects on how much more fraught a proposition being gay was in his younger years — in large part because of the AIDS crisis.
"The number, highlighted by Butterell's clever use of flashbacks involving the present-day Hugo literally looking back at his old life, adds a bittersweet tenor to Everybody's Talking About Jamie, reminding LGBTQ youth that, no matter the clear difficulties they face in modern times, it can't compare to the trauma and ridicule experienced by past generations."
Carlos Aguilar, The Wrap
"Giving a lesson on how to become a star in a single try, Harwood — in his first role ever, in a movie or otherwise — commands attention from the initial defiant lines of the cheeky opening number, "And You Don't Even Know It". He juggles the fierce boldness the character puts on when performing and the tenderhearted predicament of a boy who yearns for his father's acceptance. With a jolly sassiness in nearly every scene, Harwood makes it impossible not to smile at the character's infectious ebullience."
"True to formula, the neatly wrapped ending is telegraphed from continents away. But even under those rules, Harwood's already rarefied quality and Butterell's adept choices in his film directorial debut — his familiarity with material yields a positive transfiguration from stage to screen — color Everybody's Talking About Jamie, a high-heeled and glossy romp that's radical in its loving optimism."