Review: I Would Watch Rocketman Every Day for the Rest of My Life, That’s How Good It Is
5 out of 5 sparkly baseball uniforms, even if my favorite Elton John song didn't make the cut.
**Spoilers for Rocketman, which is also Elton John’s real life, so, you know.**
I’m a lover of movies, and a lot of the time, I find something to love in a movie even if it might not be the best film out there, but lucky for me, there was no need for searching when it came to Rocketman. I just truly loved every moment of the musical telling of Elton John’s rise to fame, and his fall to drugs and alcohol, before becoming the man we know him to be today.
To be completely honest, I didn’t know this was going to, essentially, be a stage musical in film form. I thought it would be something closer to Bohemian Rhapsody—but, hopefully, better executed. So, color me shocked when the movie started and I instantly felt as if I was watching the story of Elton John’s life being played out on the Great White Way.
From the visionary mind of Dexter Fletcher, there is something about Rocketman that has you on the edge of your seat, squealing with delight. Or, if you’re like me, you also want to spend time hugging Elton John (Taron Egerton) by the end of the film. The way the music is interwoven into the story both pushes Elton through the years as well as gives the audience as many classics as possible while fitting perfectly into every aspect of his life. We even get a brief glimpse of “Candle In The Wind,” minus the lyrics!
Taking the performative nature that Elton John brought to the stage and expanding it into a magical world of floating musical numbers, spinning time-lapse pieces with multiple costume changes, and a beautiful sequence of “dates” between Elton John and John Reid (Richard Madden), something about Rocketman just leaves you with a sense of appreciation for everything that Elton John gave us.
Starting with his life as a young boy, the film shows us the loveless childhood that Elton seemingly had (with the exception of his grandmother, played by Gemma Jones, who is constantly there to support Elton, unlike his mother and father). Going through his life, it’s clear that, while he has support from his lyricist, Bernie Taupin (Jamie Bell), even Bernie will leave Elton to go his own way.
Through drugs, sex, and alcohol, Elton begins to lose himself and his talent to feel numb to the pain he feels at everyone leaving him in his own loneliness. But, eventually, Elton finds his way out and becomes the activist and performer we still know him to be today.
With the entire cast singing classic Elton John songs themselves, this is also one cast recording that I cannot wait to have and listen to on repeat. Maybe Rocketman is just a perfectly uplifting and wonderful movie for 2019? At least, that’s how I currently feel.
There’s a beautiful moment in the movie, when Elton is singing “Tiny Dancer,” that brings home the loneliness and isolation that would eventually lead to his drug addiction. Bernie, who lets Elton know that he loves him as a brother, still writes one of the best love songs of all time (“Your Song”), but then often leaves Elton alone to go off with women, and with that pain comes Elton’s sad reflection on himself.
I came out of that theater ready to defend Taron Egerton’s Oscar campaign because, to be completely honest, if Bohemian Rhapsody was seriously considered for Best Picture, then Rocketman should be a shoo-in. It’s a wildly fun, heartbreaking tale of Elton John’s career, and if I could, I would inject it into my veins and live in its visionary brilliance for the rest of my days.
Rocketman hits theaters this May 31st.
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