Rocketman is a 2019 biographical musical film directed by Dexter Fletcher, based on the life of musician Elton John. Taron Egerton stars as John, Jamie Bell as Bernie Taupin, Richard Madden as John Reid and Bryce Dallas Howard as Sheila Eileen. The movie follows Elton in the early days of being a prodigy at the Royal Academy of Music through his partnership and friendship with Taupin.
Whether you’re an Elton fan or not, this film is still great. It has fun, romance, drama and you learn about the life of Mr. John. It includes lots of his biggest songs, most of which were top ten hits in the U.K. and U.S. You learn about his family life growing up, how he got started in music, how he met Bernie Taupin, how they got recording, why he is known for his outrageous costumes, his addictions, his relationship with his manager John Reid, his love life, his recovery from his addictions and how he has influenced other musicians and shaped the music industry.
Elton, who most people know as a smooth singing, piano player in crazy getups, had a dark side with his alcoholism, drug and sex addictions, bulimia and anger issues. He spent time in rehabilitation and therapy sessions, which helped him recover. Taron Egerton portrays John fantastically. His Elton singing impersonations are nearly spot on, but his mannerisms, accent, and the costumes are one hundred percent perfect. No one could have portrayed Sir Elton better than Egerton.
Jamie Bell is great as Bernie Taupin, the man that has written most of EJ’s songs. Richard Madden is equally great as manager and former lover of Elton’s, John Reid, who starts out as a great guy, who seems crazy about Elton, then leads him on after becoming his manager, then we learn he cared more about money than anything else, not caring that E. was overall ill and needed help.
This may be biographical, but it is also a musical. Many times young and adult Elton break out into song, which seems a little cheesy, even if the song isn’t. There is usually choreography in the scene too. The beginning of the film has young Elton, before he became Elton (born Reggie Dwight), singing “The Bitch is Back,” which is inappropriate but also a tad funny and a bit cool.
Growing up his dad was submissive in showing any sort of affection towards him, often staying gone for days at a time, until he finally leaves Reggie and his mother for good. He marries again, has two sons and is the father to them, Elton never had. His mother, starts seeing a younger man, before she and Reggie’s father are fully divorced, named Fred. Reggie finds his mother having sex with Fred in her car, before Reggie had even met him. But both his mother and Fred encourage him to take piano lessons, which get him a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music.
Comparing this film to last year’s award winner Bohemian Rhapsody, they both have their good and not so good. This film tells more of a musician’s life than Rhapsody, because that one starts out with Freddie’s life as young adult, this one starts out with Elton’s life when his is little. Both Taron Egerton and Rami Malek are outstanding in their roles and both films are considered biographical musicals, but Rocketman has more of a musical feel, being more singing and dancing.
Egerton, Bell and Madden all deserve award nominations for their roles, because each of them did outstandingly. This isn’t always a serious biopic, but the seriousness it does have, hits you hard, because you think of Sir Elton John as a bizarre fellow with a silky smooth voice and a piano in front of him, but that’s not all he used to be. But none of that changes the fact that he was and always will be a great artist.
This film is fantastic throughout. It is fun at times, yet profound at others. The acting and choice of songs are superb. Not one dull moment in the entire film. Perfect for any SEJ fan, just lover of music, or both. 18+ 4.5/5