Taron Egerton as Elton John in Rocketman.

The Movie of the Year Is Rocketman, You Cowards!!

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Writing an end of year list about the best movies? Not including Rocketman on it? It is dead to me. It doesn’t exist! Because Rocketman is the best movie of 2019.

Let me explain.

I had to sit through an entire award season last year with people pretending like Bohemian Rhapsody was a good movie worthy of a Best Picture nomination and several Oscar wins, so this is my piece about how you all had better respect Rocketman and give it the award love it deserves.

A movie based loosely on the life of Elton John, Rocketman is, essentially, a musical at its core. Using Elton’s music to both tell his story as well as his emotional journey, the movie looks at his struggle with addiction, romance, and his own rise to fame.

To be quite honest, it’s the kind of format that might only fit in a movie about Elton John. If the upcoming David Bowie biopic tried to do the same thing, it wouldn’t work because, while Bowie is from out of this world, Elton is larger than life. With stellar performances from Taron Egerton as Elton John, Richard Madden as John Reid, and Jaime Bell as Bernie Taupin, the Dexter Fletcher movie gave me everything I had hoped for out of Bohemian Rhapsody and so much more.

I think there is a quality to Rocketman that has not been topped this entire year. A movie about the pitfalls of fame and how one copes with a life in the limelight, still managing to bring honesty to the character and not sell Elton John for anything more than what he is, Rocketman is just a truthful look at the performer and doesn’t feel cheap or glorifying.

Maybe it’s because the movie is told from the perspective of Elton, or maybe it’s just because those making the film cared about telling Elton’s story from a truthful yet creative perspective, but there is just an energy that the movie has that I wished happened with Freddie Mercury’s story.

A movie that features Elton John seeing himself as a child in the bottom of a pool when he ODs and sings the song “Rocket Man” at him somehow feels more truthful than anything I got out of Bohemian Rhapsody, and that is saying a lot. Do I think that Rocketman deserves Best Picture at the Academy Awards? To be honest, yes, I do. When I started to make this claim back in May, I wasn’t sure what other movies were coming our way, but now, at the end of the year, it is very clear that Rocketman deserves all our love and praise.

I’m glad that, at least, Taron Egerton is, seemingly, getting the recognition that he deserves for bringing Elton John to life. It’s the perfect kind of movie for just that. It tells his story in a very Elton-esque way, and I just wish that people wouldn’t forget about it this coming award season.

Anyway, thank you for coming to my TED Talk.

(image: Paramount)

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Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh. She has multiple podcasts, normally has opinions on any bit of pop culture, and can tell you can actors entire filmography off the top of her head. Her work at the Mary Sue often includes Star Wars, Marvel, DC, movie reviews, and interviews.