Category Archives: Jay

Bingo Hell

Affectionately known in the neighbourhood of Oak Springs as ‘Gargoyle’ or ‘Granny,’ Lupita (Adriana Barraza) rules the community with a mostly benevolent first, with a few episodes of micro-vengeance against encroaching gentrification. She and her elderly posse, including Dolores (L. Scott Caldwell), who’s barely tolerating a pasty daughter-in-law, Morris (Clayton Landey), a Mr.-Fix-It who breaks more than he fixes, Clarence (Grover Coulson), the grumpy old man who runs the garage, and Yolanda (Bertila Damas), who runs the town’s failing beauty shop. This week’s community Bingo game is in her honour, raising funds to keep her doors open just a little longer.

You won’t be surprised to learn that I was drawn to this film due to its title. A bingo hall that’s more like bingo hell? Yeah, I can see that. And a couple of things have recently happened in Oak Springs that have shaken up Lupita’s usual game.

First, Mario, a widower normally part of Lupita’s crew, goes missing. It’s only been a day but he’s already missed by his community of elders, who find his absence immediately suspicious. Second, the old bingo hall disappears virtually overnight, bought out by some city slicker with money, who turns it into…another bingo hall. This one’s flashier and sexier and tempts people with extravagant jackpots. The people of Oak Springs can’t resist, but Lupita knows it’s bad news, especially the owner, who goes by Mr. Big (Richard Brake). As you might have guessed, and since this is a horror, Lupita is more or less right. Mr. Big trades in greed, and the price is steep. His bingo hall just might be the root of all evil.

I liked the title but I loved the movie. It’s rare for any movie to feature a cast of senior citizens, but it’s especially nice to see them headlining a horror. And these aren’t doddering old fools, these are vibrant, tough citizens, still fighting for their beloved neighbourhood, still fighting off evil incarnate as necessary. Someone’s got to do it!

Director Gigi Saul Guerrero writes a film, alongside Perry Blackshear and Shane McKenzie, that has clear roots in the genre, but with its fresh perspective and unexpected vigor, Bingo Hell is silly, smart, sassy, and scary. The cast of golden agers is uniformly and impressively strong, and Guerrero directs them by virtue of their age, not despite it, finding power and skill in what others may consider limitations. Guerrero’s greatest asset is Barraza, and she knows it, using her liberally, wisely, and in enchantingly subversive ways. If you’re lucky enough to find an Adriana, you definitely, definitely write a role for her. Barraza is plucky and hardy. When she wields a shotgun, you believe it. But she doesn’t confuse vulnerability with weakness. Lupita is stubborn and single-minded in her defense of her beloved community, but even she will find it difficult to save the souls of her squad when her friends are selling them willingly and enthusiastically. Will Mr. Big$ Bingo be the end of them all? Amazon Prime is where you shall find your answers, but beware: bingo is a game with one winner, and an awful lot of losers. Watch if you dare.

There’s Someone Inside Your House

On the one hand, a title like that sends chills up my spine and I feel a little less excited to be watching it alone in my stupid creaking house, but on the other hand, really? Really? Could you get any lazier? Why not ‘Look out, he’s right behind you!’ or ‘He’s definitely in the basement’ or ‘You’ll be dead before you orgasm’? Plus it isn’t even factually correct at least half of the time.

Anyway, can you get past a somewhat inane title?

Also: can you forgive some pretty heavy-handed wokeness? Normally I find it hard to find fault with people who want to be better and do better but in a horror movie it just feels shoe-horned in.

Still with me?

Makani (Sydney Park) has finally put her traumatic past behind her and has a nice group of solid friends at her new school. Rodrigo (Diego Josef) is quiet but funny once you get to know him. He’s got a crush on Alex (Asjha Cooper), the resident bitch with a heart of gold, who maybe kinda reciprocates it. Darby (Jesse LaTourette) is a space nerd and Zach (Dale Whibley) is the obligatory rich kid and Caleb (Burkely Duffield) is the gay football player and Ollie (Théodore Pellerin) is the creepy kid on the periphery. Got all that? Basic horror movie tropes with a more concerted effort toward inclusivity. Just your typical high school diversity ad when all of a sudden, someone’s picking off teenagers. Wearing a 3D-printed mask of their victim’s faces, the killer is picking off kids who are hiding secrets, and exposing them for all to see. Armed with a classic oversized knife that glints in the light when it’s not dripping in blood.

Are we rewriting the genre here? We most certainly are not. But they’re an affable bunch of kids and it’s pretty fun watching them get slaughtered. Besides, it’s Spooktober and you’ve got to fill that calendar with something slasherrific, so why not this?

Charlotte

Charlotte Salomon knew how lucky she was to escape Germany during the war, fleeing to the south of France between 1941 and 1943 where she sought refuge at a friend’s estate. She may have left Germany, but she knew she couldn’t outrun everything. Some things follow you no matter where you go.

Family haunted Charlotte from either side of the border, a long string of suicided ghosts making her question her own fate, as well as from the camps of the Holocaust where relatives have disappeared steadily. In hiding from the Nazis, Charlotte meets and marries her love, but she still can’t shake her own sense of mortality. She spends her days painting frantically, motivated to leave a record. Though young, she’s determined to paint her own autobiography, nearly 1000 images, memorializing those she’d lost and paying tribute to her own strife.

Charlotte Salomon was murdered in a gas chamber shortly after her arrival at Auschwitz in October 1943. She was 26 and pregnant. Like so many, Charlotte was supposed to be forgotten, wiped from history, but after her death, her family unearthed the paintings she’d carefully packed away.

This animated film is a tribute to her life and to her work. It honours her memory but remembers her as a real person, a young woman and talented artist who should have had a long future in front of her. Not unlike her own graphic style, the film uses bold, colourful images to recount Charlotte’s short life.

A certain film once posited that every time a bell rang, an angel got some wings. I’m of the belief that every time you watch this movie, a Nazi ghost gets a pineapple shoved up his rear. Do your part. Don’t let her memory fade. Marion Cotillard, Keira Knightley, Mark Strong, Sam Claflin, and Jim Broadbent lend their voices to make this film come alive, and if you need further enticement, I hear the pineapple crop’s particularly robust this year.

Charlotte is an official selection of TIFF 2021.

Free Guy

This movie has been on Sean’s most-anticipated list since 2019 and we’ve been waiting impatiently for quite some time. Unfortunately, this film had a theatrical-only release this summer, which excludes the likes of myself, an immuno-suppressed, likely-to-die-of-COVID person who’s obsessed with movies but not quite willing to die for them. And also her husband, who Officially Cares Whether I Live Or Die. I knew he liked me! I made him a badge and everything, but he’s a little embarrassed to wear it. Anyway, I’ve been stalking the movie rental sites like a shark, ready to pounce the moment it dropped. Blood in the water, baby! So colour me surprised when I found it first on Disney Plus – for free. Hello!

Guy (Ryan Reynolds) lives a repetitive life: wake up, feed goldfish, don blue shirt, work as bank teller, get robbed, repeat. He’s surprisingly cheerful about it, considering all the laying on the floor, fearing for your life he does on a daily basis, but it’s all he knows, so he’s pretty content. Until one day he isn’t. Guy discovers he’s an NPC, a non-playing character, in an open-world video game, one of those guys that’s just walking around so that the real characters, navigated by human gamers, can feel their world is populated, or perhaps even interact with them, briefly. And then there’s this woman, Molotovgirl (Jodie Comer), who catches her eye; as an NPC he’s all but invisible to her but once he wears the sunglasses that identify him as a character, they strike up a friendship…for starters.

Interestingly, the movie leaps in and out of the game. When it’s not following Ryan Reynolds around inside the game, it’s sitting in with the game’s real-life creators and coders. Millie (also Comer) and Keys (Joe Keery) are the game’s true originators, but Big Gaming Company’s ruthless CEO Antwan (Taika Waititi) has stolen their code. Millie has left the company but Keys is still there, and he and partner Mouser (Utkarsh Ambudkar) are among the first to notice that an NPC in the game seems to have gone rogue. They assume some keener has simply hacked the NPC’s code, but there’s actually much more at play: Millie and Keys’ original code wasn’t just for some shoot ’em up game, but for AI that would become self-aware. It seems that Guy has somehow reached that state on his own. He’s not just a video game free guy anymore; he’s fully conscious, sentient artificial intelligence. And it just so happens that watching him level up through the game in order to win the heart of Molotovgirl (interestingly, Milie’s in-game avatar) is highly entertaining. People around the world stop playing the game in order to watch, a crazy phenomenon that doesn’t make the company any money. In fact, sales of the game’s sequel are slumping too, which makes Antwan everyone’s new enemy. His plan to erase the code for good threatens Millie and Keys’ livelihood but more importantly, robs the world of their scientifically significant invention, and it also of course threatens Guy’s very life, for he is a self-aware consciousness, but he only exists in the game.

Don’t worry. There’s no existential crisis here, no philosophical debate. This is a popcorn movie. Video game violence mixed with Reynolds’ trademark good guy vibes make Free Guy irresistible. Reynolds gets to do what he does best, playing a naïve, hapless guy who chuckles at life’s little foibles. Guy’s best friend Buddy (Lil Rel Howery) is just as guileless and gratified; together they’re the picture of perfect contentment until someone’s awakening starts to expose the cracks in their happy little lives.

Had Alexander Payne written/directed this, we’d have an introspective, meta exploration of the Life is a Game philosophy at its core, debating the rules, and how to win, and just who was the Great Gamer in the Sky operating the controller. And though I’d kind of like to see that movie, Free Guy, however, is in the hands of Shawn Levy, oh ye of Night at the Museum, Cheaper By the Dozen, The Internship, and Real Steel. Dude is guaranteed to keep this thing light. Super light. L-I-T-E lite, even. But that’s not a bad thing. It seems Levy has cured his habit of creating utter crap and found his stride, matching Reynolds’ sweetness and goofiness bit for bit. There’s an enthusiasm here that’s hard to beat, and Free Guy turns out to be exactly the kind of movie we need after 18 months of no movies. It’s endearing, entertaining, and energetic. Dumb, but fun. Dumb, but not brainless. Crowd-pleasing but not bland. Crowd-pleasing but not condescending. Caters to gamers with plenty of tongue-in-cheek Easter eggs, but doesn’t alienate anyone. It’s a rare family-friendly (PG-13), action-comedy-sci-fi hybrid that has something for everyone but still feels fresh and exciting. Good Great Gamer in the Sky, what more do you need?

Inexorable

Marcel Bellmer (Benoît Poelvoorde) is an author some might consider past his prime if it weren’t for his wife Jeanne (Mélanie Doutey), a powerful publisher, who makes sure his name is still relevant. Once celebrated for his best-selling novel Inexorable, he’s never been able to replicate its success, and lately he’s been knotted up with writer’s block. He’s hoping that moving in to his wife’s family’s sprawling country manor might be just the change of scenery to jolt his creativity. Jeanne and young daughter Lucie (Janaina Halloy) accompany him, but since Jeanne is very busy with work, she engages a new nanny, Gloria (Alba Gaïa Bellugi), who bonds immediately with Lucie.

As Marcel settles into his late father-in-law’s office, the old mansion groaning and moaning around him, the words still don’t come, but Gloria proves a welcome distraction. She cuts a sympathetic figure, a shy and lonely orphan grateful to be part of a family setting. She’s particularly drawn to Marcel, confessing her admiration for him and his work, insisting that Inexorable saved her life when things were particularly dark. But as she becomes increasingly entangled in the family, her presence becomes more threatening, and she becomes a lot less meek.

Director Fabrice Du Welz creates a creeping atmosphere as the setting for his drama. The estate is large enough to feel intimidating in itself, but there are always menacing corners, ominous shadows, places to hide, places to spy. Gloria is the snake lying in wait, full of secrets and shady intentions. Still, it’s Marcel’s own past that will haunt him the most. Du Welz and co-writers Joséphine Darcy Hopkins and Aurélien Molas use the framework to poke at the myth of the literary genius, but it goes much deeper than that. Every confrontation builds toward something (forgive me) inevitable. Even anticipating the worst, I couldn’t shake the dread, but needed the release of a long-promised boiling point. I wanted it and I feared it, and by golly I got it. But thanks to Du Welz’s vision and style, it was somehow expected but also a whole lot more.

The Electrical Life of Louis Wain

People will tell you that The Electrical Life of Louis Wain is a manic mess of quirks and cameos, and I won’t deny it. In fact, I embrace it. I liked it that way.

Every year, Hollywood greenlights a certain number of biopics, biopics being fairly reliable around Oscar time. But they’ve been making moving pictures for more than a century; at some point, we’re going to be scraping the bottom of the barrel for suitable subjects. I know some critics have argued that Louis Wain isn’t exactly first-rate material, and I’ll confess to not knowing his name or his art before watching this film. Now, however, I’d consider myself a fan. I can see why director Will Sharpe would choose him: Louis Wain was a complete weirdo. Today we’d have a much more sophisticated label for him, but the Victoria set just thought him strange and unusual, and he was happily oblivious to exist outside of society’s expectations.

When we meet Louis in 1881, he’s the head of the family to aging and ailing mother and 5 unmarried sisters. He’s not exactly up for the task, or even aware of it, more concerned with creative pursuits, which of course pay diddly squat, which doesn’t exactly address the family’s growing financial concerns. Wain’s peculiarities keep him so far outside of the natural order of things, everyone’s shocked to discover he’s actually a romantic. And in fact, he’s fallen in love with his sisters’ governess, Emily (Claire Foy). While it’s shocking that Louis is suddenly going to marry, it’s even more shocking that he’s chosen such an inappropriate bride. She’s not only the help, she’s also a spinster at her advanced age. The scandal! Louis’s mother is mortified. But he marries her anyway, and insists that the family treats her well.

Such a beautiful, whirlwind romance can only end one way: she dies. She dies young, leaving Louis a weird, bereft loner who only has the heart to do one thing. Draw cat pictures. He would draw his wife pictures of their beloved cat to cheer her up as the cancer took her, and now he keeps doing it, illustrating obsessively, becoming famous for his cat cartoons, but never rich. Louis never did have a head for business.

He did, however, have a head full of wild and fantastical thoughts, and the film treats him like an avant-garde genius. This is the stuff that creams Cumberbatch’s knickers. He’s the King of Quirk, and he lays it on thick, but I never felt it was over the top or distracting; it was wonderful. It was Cumber at his Batchiest, all ticks, and odd mannerisms, and social ineptitude. He’s not serving up mere ice cream, he’s the whole damn sundae bar, and who doesn’t live for ‘more is more’ at a sundae bar? Cumberbatch does, and I’m here for it.

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Yes, this makes for some wild shifts in film, tonalities that spasm all over the screen, but it feels like an extension of the character, never quite managing to follow the rules, never caring to either. Wain had plenty of darkness in him too, a true artist even in his soul, which a droll voiceover by Olivia Colman drives home, literally giving voice to his damaged inner life, his unbearable grief, his tattered mental state.

The Electrical Life of Louis Wain is flawed, but it’s also spectacular, especially as a fan of the inimitable Benedict Cumberbatch. Louis Wain didn’t live inside the box he was meant to. He felt life sizzle all around him. He wasn’t typical, or perhaps even neurotypical, but he dreamed big, loved big, lost big, grieved big, and left a legacy that includes a great many cat pictures, but more besides, something intangible that couldn’t possibly be captured on film but between Cumberbatch and Sharpe, is made somehow real.

The Electrical Life of Louis Wain is an official selection of TIFF 2021. Look for it on Amazon Prime November 5.

Chicken Of The Mound

Imagine a somewhere that is not here. Imagine there are crab robots (with pinchers, naturally), and hard-edge robots, and both think they are the ‘humans’ by which I can only assume they believe themselves to be the dominant species, the apex predators, so of course the only solution is to continually invade each other’s planets and try to kill each other off. But in a war of robot versus robot, there are no quick winners, and the robots are eventually exhausted. The hard-edge robots form weird jellyfish cocoons that ultimately destroy the crab robots’ planet.

I can’t logically or lucidly explain why, but this is somehow the precipitating factor in a chicken larva not reaching adulthood and instead of hiding away in a cave, he wanders the planet wearing robot armour. He’s a mystery and a marvel, but he’s the least of your worries. There are robot ladies, big eyes, doll heads, chicken heads, creepy-crawlies, and things that look vaguely Star Wars-like. Robots continue to fight, so I can only assume they continue to battle for supremacy.

I understand how this sounds. You can’t make sense of this because I can’t make sense of it because, I suspect, it doesn’t wholly make sense. It’s like my 5 year old niece Ella, distracted by someone having fun on the trampoline without her, is relating a story to her 7 year old cousin, Jack. Jack is hopped up on sugar and has to pee, but does his best to understand, and then to recount the story to Xi Chen over a Zoom call during which Jack’s first priority is showing off all his trophies and medals. And then Xi Chen, whose first language is not English, animates the thing to the best of his ability but without asking a single clarifying question. It’s delirious stuff. A lot of the robots look like weird hybrids that a child’s imagination might produce given a box of crayons and enough blank paper – a mix of their limited but enthusiastic understanding of robots, and limited by their artistic abilities.

Xi Chen’s minimalist narration, an imperfect translation, is like toneless poetry (perhaps the kind of poetry written and recited by a robot?). They are rare interjections between dialogue-free scenes scored by the kind of beep-boops kids imagine robots voice, and the phaser sounds they make with their sticky mouths while play-shooting each other in the backyard.

Chicken of the Mound is undoubtedly odd and a little austere, but it’s like taking a ride on the magic school bus into a child’s imagination, where all things are possible, few things make sense, and everything can be turned into either a gun or a robot, or better yet, can transform between the two.

Diana

Diana, the musical, was set to open on Broadway in late March 2020 but like almost everything in the whole world that month and beyond, it was postponed due to COVID.

The world as a whole is still obsessed with Princess Diana nearly 25 years after her death. I’m not immune to her story myself. I was a kid when she died, but I remember her as beautiful and glamourous, the very embodiment of how princesses have always been described. But despite constant media scrutiny, she remains a bit of a mystery. If she were alive today, I’m positive she’d have a very active Instagram account, but at the time her only option was to leak small nuggets anonymously to the press – the very same press that gleefully tore her to shreds. All this to say: if you tell me there’s a musical about the People’s Princess, I’ve got instant tiara fever. But after watching this, I’m desperate for the vaccine.

Diana is abysmal. Just the shoddiest, jankiest, most beastly piece of theatre that’s ever existed, and I’m including Cats in this assessment. Every single thing about this is trashy and desperate. The music and lyrics, by David Bryan and Joe DiPietro, are laughably bad. These two Jersey boys (one of whom is the keyboard player for Bon Jovi) have assembled every problematic British expression and cliché their two bird brains could think of, and then fabricated songs MAD-LIBS style. The result is cringey. I have a box of salt in my pantry with more sense than these two. My ears were offended. They make Prince Charles, famous for having fantasized about being a tampon to get, erm, closer to Camilla, look like a poet by comparison.

And it’s not just the songs. Although: if you’re a musical with ghastly songs, you’re pretty fecking useless, aren’t you? But it’s not just the songs. The tone is always wrong. By chance alone you’d think it would accidentally stumble toward right about half the time, but no, it plods along, getting it wrong each and every time. The casting’s wrong too; the actors probably aren’t bad, but they’re so woefully miscast that it doesn’t even matter. Jeanna de Waal, bless her heart, is no Princess Di. No shade, but even in the world’s poufiest wedding gown and carefully coifed blonde wig, she doesn’t hold a candle in the wind to the real Princess of Wales.

The staging’s uninspired, the costumes are more about quick changes than about iconic fashion, and I won’t even tell you what they rhyme with Camilla.

And don’t get me started on the ending that never was. Even with over 20 years worth of hindsight, these two ratbags don’t know how to end the musical. It ends so abruptly it feels as though the credits have simply wandered onto the stage, dazed and confused. But no, the credits are exactly where they belong; it’s the ending that’s MIA, TBD, BYOE.

Diana is pure trash, and not even juicy garbage like a guilty pleasure reality show, but honest to goodness wet, stinking garbage, as in that big can where someone should have dumped this steaming pile. Diana should have either gone dark and real, or funny and camp, but instead we get this bland, dated, inexcusable rot that would be an insult to her legacy if anyone could parse the silly lyrics or make sense of the drab costumes enough to figure out that this is meant to be Princess Diana, The Princess Diana, who even in death deserves far better than this.

The Humans

There were bigger films at TIFF this year, buzzier films, films with hype and hope and high expectations. The Humans, though? That one was for me. An intense, talky film, character-driven, with an interesting cast: sign me up and sit me down! Stephen Karam adapts his one-act play (finalist for the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, Tony winner for Best Play) for the big screen, a risky DIY move that pays off in surprising ways.

The Humans takes place in Brigid and Richard’s new apartment, “new” being a misleading word in this case as it’s a crumbling pre-war duplex in downtown Manhattan, but it’s new to Brigid (Beanie Feldstein) and Richard (Steven Yeun), who are moving in together for the first time, and playing host to her family for Thanksgiving. Just one problem: the furniture hasn’t even arrived yet. Haha, just kidding. In-laws for Thanksgiving? There’s gonna be drama, folks.

But not the loud, yelly kind. Sister Aimee (Amy Schumer) arrives first, from Philadelphia, mourning her recent breakup and dealing with an intestinal rebellion. Mom Deirdre (Jayne Houdyshell) and dad Erik (Richard Jenkins) arrive next, in from Scranton, toting grandma ‘Momo’ (June Squibb), physically confined to a wheelchair and mentally confined by Alzheimer’s. With an apartment full of people instead of furniture, the holiday celebrations begin, but I’m afraid you won’t find them very jolly.

The passive-aggression starts almost immediately. There’s no one quite like family for such precision the button-pushing, and nary a scene goes by without adding to the tensions of the night. Everyone’s got a secret, and as if the house knows, it starts to bump and burble around them. As darkness falls, the apartment closes in, feeling all the more claustrophobic as director Karam finds nooks and crannies to hide his camera and catch his subject in awkward positions. Aimee hides a trembling lip, and makes unadvised calls from the bathroom. Dad Erik eyes the apartment’s many flaws, distress flashing across his features, tongue firmly bitten. He sees every loose doorknob, every bubble in the paint, every single water damage stain dotting the ceilings. Is he evaluating the apartment’s worthiness, or lamenting that he can’t provide better for his daughter? With a panic attack always encroaching, he’s a tough character to crack, but Richard Jenkins is second to none, and he’s rarely, if ever, been better than this.

Intimate and meticulously observed, Karam has an ear for dialogue and a knack for finding the authenticity in human interaction. Completely free of artifice, this feels like an absurdly typical American family fumbling their way through another holiday dinner. They love each other and they drive each crazy.

Houdyshell, having originated the role of Deirdre on Broadway, plays her like a second skin, so comfortable in the role she wins our empathy with the very smallest of hints, her anguish just barely visible yet undeniable, her every flinch present and accounted for. Feldstein and Yeun are each as good as we’d expect them to be, flawless parts of a flawless whole. Schumer’s the real surprise, holding her own alongside them, Aimee’s role within the family instantly identifiable and relatable.

The Humans gets to the truth in this family dynamic, eschewing melodrama for raw honesty, leaving the members of this family open and exposed. They are laid so bare it feels almost embarrassing to be eavesdropping, yet it’s so compelling it hurts to look away. Karam is confident enough in his material not to muck it up with cinematic tricks. He relies on strong writing and excellent acting, and both here are beyond reproach. He holds a mirror up to us, and like all humans before and after us, we are fascinated by our reflections. Our very natures, the best and worst of us, revealed in one turkey dinner around a rickety folding table with mismatched chairs, Momo snoring softly from the corner. A compelling story is more than enough.

I loved every bit of this movie, how it moved me, how I felt I knew and understood these characters instinctively, winced when they winced, held my breath when they held theirs. The Humans is among the best of the many excellently curated titles at TIFF this year, and how I wished I was watching it with others, able to debate the merits of its title, the meaning of those blackened lightbulbs, Karam’s creepy, haunted atmosphere, treating this family drama as if it were a horror – and whether, just maybe, it is.

The film will simultaneously be released in theaters and aired on Showtime on November 24, 2021.

Everyone’s Talking About Jamie

This movie is based on the true story of Jamie Campbell, a 16 year old boy from Sheffield, England, who dreamed in drag, and attended prom in a dress.

In the film, the 16 year old boy is called Jamie New (Max Harwood). Jamie is out, and proud, and knows in his blood he’s meant to be a drag queen. He’s bullied at school, rejected by his father, but at home he finds support with mother Margaret (Sarah Lancashire), who doesn’t just love and accept him, but encourages him to be his true self. She even buys him his first pair of heels.

Worried the film wouldn’t be gay enough, directors Jonathan Butterell, Dan Gillespie Sells, and Tom MacRae add singing and dancing, adapting it from the West-End stage musical.

Stifled at school, especially by Miss Hedge (Sharon Horgan), Jamie resolves to attend prom in a dress. Emboldened to finally create the drag persona of whom he’s been dreaming, he makes a friend with crucial experience. Hugo (Richard E. Grant) doesn’t just run a fabulous dress shop, he’s a queen himself, and his wisdom extends beyond just brows and breasts. He teaches Jamie (with an all-new song) about drag’s revolutionary history.

Grant prepared for the role by binging 11 seasons of RuPaul’s Drag Race in just 3 weeks (which sounds like a dream job to me), and is particularly fitting since season 6’s winner, Bianca Del Rio (Roy Haylock), makes a cameo appearance (as do the real Jamie Campbell, and several cast members of the stage musical).

If you like heart warming stories about being your true self, Everyone’s Talking About Jamie is about to be talked about you, too. If you like queer stories with a happy ending, please sing and dance along. If you like stories about outsiders overcoming obstacles to rise above, then find this film on Amazon Prime, sparkly heels optional but encouraged.