The name Elton John is one that is synonymous with ‘music royalty’. For decades, the singer-songwriter has graced the world with his flamboyant persona, outrageous costumes, and most importantly, captivating music that brings out a myriad of emotions.
Rocketman, directed by Dexter Fletcher and stars Taron Eggerton, tells the story of Elton’s trials, tribulations and journey toward becoming one of the world’s greatest musicians. Much like Bohemian Rhapsody, which details the rise and fall of Queen’s Freddie Mercury, Rocketman illustrates Elton’s story, giving fans and viewers a better understanding of the man behind the performer and the deep internal battles he faced, not just a musician, but also as a gay man, growing up during a time where being homosexual was not quite accepted.
However, unlike Bohemian Rhapsody, Elton’s tale is one that gives us hope, and puts a smile on our face, knowing the happy family man that he would become.
The film gives us an insight into Elton’s formative years and family life as Reginald “Reggie” Dwight, a timid young boy starved from parental love. Discovering a talent for singing and playing the piano, Reggie turned to music as his escape, meeting a slew of people who would set him on the path toward becoming THE Elton John.
Watching Reggie struggle to receive any kind of positive affection from his parents and then become beloved by so many around him was intriguing. It became quickly apparent that the struggles Elton faced stemmed from the lack of fatherly guidance and love, along with the inability to be true to himself due to society’s strict rules. Like Freddie Mercury, Elton too was easily deceived by those who feigned affection only to be used and thrown aside.
The narrative of the film truly illustrated the sheer will Elton had, to overcome his plight and, to not only survive the cruel industry that he was in, but to also thrive and rise above it all. It is this rags to riches story that truly captivates audiences and allows viewers to connect with a larger than life celebrity icon on a much deeper and emotional level.
Taron Eggerton was a class above, portraying Elton in a way that was truly remarkable. Not only was his acting on point but his singing as well. In fact, all of the characters in the film were fantastically portrayed. Bryce Dallas Howard played the role of Elton’s cold, couldn’t care less, mother perfectly. Richard Madden was both intriguing and infuriating as John Reid, Elton’s former manager and Jamie Bell was simply lovable as Elton’s one and truest friend, Bernie Taupin.
Visually, the film was very much like Elton John himself, full of glitz, glamour and sparkles.The way in which the film utilised the contrast of colours to portray the less than glamorous upbringing Elton had to the fabulous, high life that he would later indulge in, was an effective film technique. The outrageous costumes added flair to the film, leaving little doubt about who the musical biopic was about.
Of course, being a music biopic, many of Elton’s greatest hits were played throughout the film, with Taron Eggerton himself singing all the tunes. Fans of Elton John’s music would have been tapping their feet away as the musical renditions were fantastic and Taron was absolutely brilliant.
Rocketman was an eye opening film in more ways than one. It showcased the struggles that higher than life celebrities face and the challenges they’ve had to overcome. The entire film brought out all kinds of emotions, while encouraging viewers to move to the catchy beat of Elton John’s music. Overall, Rocketman was beautifully well done and masterfully crafted in a way that paid fantastic tribute to the legendary musician that is Elton John. After watching the film, I couldn’t get the song ‘Rocketman’ out of my head and I’m sure several others who watched the film would have walked out of the cinema humming away as well.