Film Review: Rocketman

While it doesn’t compare to last year’s Bohemian Rhapsody, Rocketman is still an all-around great biopic of one of Britains greatest musicians…

Although I don’t normally listen to Elton John, I have heard lots of his songs – most of us have, regardless of his generation. The iconic songs were sung remarkably by Taron Egerton and I was singing them in the car on my way back home from the cinema.

The story starts with Taron Egerton’s representation of Elton John outrageously wearing a devil-like costume while in a rehab group therapy where he announces himself to be an alcoholic, sex addict, cocaine addict, bulimic, shopaholic and the list goes on. It is from this moment in the film that the story of Elton’s life is told in flashbacks showing the key moments of his life from a child to the moment he enters rehab.

My favourite parts of the movie were the scenes showing young Elton, who was actually known as Reginald Dwight. These scenes illustrate how his talent sparked from a broken home but was pursued with the loving support of his grandmother. The contrast of beauty in his music against the toxic surrounding settings of his home and relationship with his parents is very striking.

Scenes with Elton’s mother and father, played by Bryce Dallas Howard and Steven Mackintosh, really hit the audience’s emotions as the emotional pain is acted so brilliantly by Egerton. The young boy’s sad question to his unloving Father, “When are you going to hug me?” stayed with Elton throughout his life and stayed with me as I left the cinema.

One of my favourite moments in the whole movie was when Elton appeared to fly at his first performance in the USA at The Troubadour. The atmosphere from the crowd and the pure happiness within Elton and his songwriter, Bernard Taupin, was ecstatic. I only wish I could have been there myself to see the event that sparked Elton’s career. A big hats off has to go to Egerton who played the “introverted extrovert” amazingly and did Elton’s story justice.

However, a couple of things were missing from the film. The heavy focus on Elton’s battle with depression and his sexuality meant that some key events, such as his marriage with ex-wife Renate Blauel, were skimmed over very briefly, despite them actually being married for three years. The focus on Elton’s personal battles made his life seem very sad despite becoming the iconic figure he is today and having a fulfilled later life.

I would have liked to have seen some key events of his later life, as we now know him to be married to David Furnish and have two children. These facts are only briefly touched upon at the end of the film with real-life photographs just prior to the end credits. Overall, the movie is not a story of his whole life but Elton’s life as a young boy up until the moment he decides to enter rehab and change his life to the life he currently has today.

While I am disappointed that his later life was missed from the film, the parts of his life that we do see are acted and portrayed excellently and amplified with the support of his iconic music. For me, the director, Dexter Fletcher was the star of the whole show. His enthusiasm for musical storytelling sparkled literally and metaphorically in every scene, hitting all of the audience’s emotions throughout the film.

By Katie Sharman

Feature image credit: Paramount Pictures

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