From Paramount Pictures and the man who brought the world the four-time Oscar-winning biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody,” comes another tale about a young Reginald (Reggie) Dwight. A man who would one day grow up to become the legendary Elton John in Dexter Fletcher’s “Rocketman.”
Starring Taron Egerton as Elton John and Jamie Bell as his lyrical partner Bernie Taupin, “Rocketman” takes viewers on a compelling journey filled with hardship, determination and a very catchy soundtrack that no one can resist singing along to when the chorus of “Tiny Dancer” comes on.
The film begins with Elton, fully decked out in an orange devil outfit with a matching headpiece, running in slow-motion into a rehab facility, making his way to a group therapy session. Elton introduces himself as a drug addict and an alcoholic and the session becomes the focal point of the story, as Elton recalls his tough upbringing, success and addiction.
With the use of flashbacks, viewers are taken back to the 1950s during Reggie’s childhood. At the time, he lived with his harsh mother Shelia, played by Bryce Dallas Howard, his unaffectionate father Stanley, played by Steven Mackintosh and his maternal grandmother Ivy, played by Gemma Jones, who was the only family member that truly supported his passion for piano.
Reggie was revealed to be a musical prodigy at an early age. He could memorize a piece of music having only heard it once, which led him to try out for The Royal Academy of Music in London.
Reggie begins to stray away from the classical genre and begins to find different inspirations in rock ‘n’ roll, most notably in the American King of rock, Elvis Presley. He begins performing in local bars and by his early adult years joins the band, Bluesology.
After his work with Bluesology, Reggie begins to collaborate with lyricist Bernie Taupin, in which the two of them transform Reginald Dwight into a worldwide sensation by the name of “Elton John.”
The important thing viewers should note before seeing the film is that this is not necessarily a biopic. While many of the events that took place in the film are accurate, others were altered to fit the storyline of the film.
One of the most recognizable examples of this is the timeline of the songs. With the help of Google, it is very easy to search up the release dates of almost any piece of music, including the iconic song “Crocodile Rock,” which in the film, was Elton’s American debut performance in 1970. In reality, the song would not be released until 1972.
The presentation of Elton’s collection of memorable melodies mostly took the form of a performance from the cast in each scene to further tell the story. This gave the film a little more of a “Jersey Boys,” Broadway-like feel in comparison to “Bohemian Rhapsody,” something that not all viewers expected, but did not disappoint.
Despite the slight alterations, Fletcher did an outstanding job of shining a light on the life of another renowned musician. Many people see Elton John as the man in the colorful costumes behind the piano, but the story behind that man has never really been told before.
Fletcher paints a vivid picture of a young boy with a love for music who just wanted a hug from his father. This affected his personal life and his career, resulting in his drug and alcohol addiction.
The acting paired with the music was amazing in portraying this story, and it could not have been done without the right man in Elton’s shoes. Egerton’s striking resemblance to the singer, with the key vocals to match, takes viewers back to the 1970s for a memorizing performance.
Of course, it would not be an Elton John story without his signature, over-the-top costumes. Julian Day, the costume designer for the film, did a fantastic job in recreating John’s iconic looks throughout the years, including the Los Angeles Dodgers uniform bedazzled in jewels, the multicolored headdresses and the collections of glasses and jewelry.
Every piece of the film was given the stamp of approval from John himself along with many critics lauding the film, giving it a 91 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
— Elton John (@eltonofficial) May 31, 2019
“Rocketman,” while not a true tribute to the man himself, is a perfect execution of this “rags to riches” story.
Apart from the film, he is also currently embarking on his three year “Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour,” which proves that John is “still standing.”