Rocketman: Elton John’s Biopic Lifts Off
July 8, 2019
Most people are familiar with the typical rockstar biopic. A shy nobody from a troublesome family suddenly becomes one of the most popular recording artists of all time, only to lose it all to alcohol and drugs. However, director Dexter Fletcher offers a new spin on an age-old formula. Starring Kingsman’s Taron Egerton as musical prodigy Elton John, Rocketman uses music to tell the unmoderated story of an eccentric boy who changes rock and roll forever.
Beginning with Elton charging off stage to attend a therapy session, the movie uses music as transitions between his various flashbacks. Although Elton John or Reginald Dwight at the time was largely neglected by his parents, the film does tell a love story — the heartwarming friendship between Elton and his lyricist Bernie Taupin (Jamie Bell). Their close relationship is shown when the two combine their talents — songwriting and singing — in a touching rendition of “Your Song.”
When Elton meets his manager John Reid (Richard Madden), they sing a duet of “Honky Cat,” and their relationship marks one of the first gay love scenes of a major Hollywood production. However, due to Reid’s selfish and cruel behavior, Elton soon falls into a trap of alcohol and drugs, driving even his best friend Bernie away with his wild lifestyle while they perform “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.” Even though their friendship had a few rough patches, their lifelong collaboration and honest talks no doubt helped Elton accept himself for who he is and lead him to the road of recovery while performing “I’m Still Standing.”
Although it may look like another boring biography, on screen, Rocketman enchants audiences with its whimsical costumes and deftly placed songs with a unique energy that only Elton John himself could summon.