“Rocketman” tells the breakout story of famous English singer, composer, and pianist, Elton John (Taron Egerton). From his rough upbringing, his beginnings in music, meeting his lyricist and close friend, Bernie Taupin (Jamie Bell), all the way to his breakthrough in musical fame. However, with a new life, come new habits as Elton finds himself trying every substance known to man just to keep himself together for the sake of his career. Songs will be sung, mistakes will be made, and most of all, we’ll see how one man can stand at the top of the world, yet feel so lonely. The film also features Richard Madden.
Let’s get this out of the way before people start making comparisons. This film is not like the 2018 Freddie Mercury film “Bohemian Rhapsody.” While both are about England’s famous musical icons, their rise to fame, and their homosexual lifestyle, both films have two major differences in their narrative formats.
For starters, while “Bohemian Rhapsody” was rated PG-13, “Rocketman” is a full-on R rated film. Elton John’s movie doesn’t hold anything back, and that is one of the things I like about it. It uses its rating well by telling a story about a man’s addiction to drugs, alcohol, and sex, but never to the point where it feels like it’s going too far. I believe Elton John himself said it best, “I just haven’t led a PG-13 life.”
The second difference between both films is in their storytelling and use of music. While “Bohemian Rhapsody” took some liberties here and there with the facts, its focus was telling the true story of Freddie Mercury and Queen as we followed them making their famous songs. “Rocketman” is a bit different, however, as it’s referred to as a “fantasy musical.” What that means is as we’re following Elton John through the movie, there are parts where he breaks out into song numbers Broadway style. So, while the movie does delve into the true events and struggles of Elton being an addict, closeted homosexual, and musical icon, it’s a bit more fictitious in certain scenarios because I doubt Elton John was capable of floating in mid-air or singing to his younger self while underwater. Then again, maybe with the right amount of substances, he thought he could.
It’s fun hearing Elton’s music in the movie, and it’s used well. Sometimes it’s upbeat and fun, while in other moments tragic and depressing. Which, in a nutshell, was one of the selling points that made Elton John such an appealing icon. It gets even more interesting when you learn Taron Egerton—our main star—does all the singing on his own. He gives a phenomenal performance, does a fantastic job assuming the role of Elton John, especially in recreating his songs on the big screen. Then again, this is not Taron Egerton’s first time, as he’s recorded songs before for films like “Eddie the Eagle” and “Sing.”
“Rocketman” is rated R for language throughout, along with some drug use and sexual content. This is a fun and fascinating film for everyone. If you’re a longtime fan of Elton John, you’re going to love it. If you’re not a fan, or someone who knows little about Elton John, you’re going to love it anyway! One last thing I must address, however, is that the film only covers Elton’s life from the 1950s to the 80s. So don’t expect the film to delve into his later relationship with the Royal Family, including Princess Diana, or how he meets his future husband. Even with that, “Rocketman” is still a fun watch, which is why the final score is an 8 out of 10!
Marco Island resident and avid moviegoer, Matthew Mendisana is a Lynn University alumnus. While he possesses a bachelor’s degree in science, it’s the arts that attracted his attention. In his four years at Lynn, Matthew managed to achieve Magna Cum Laude status, earn three publications in the Lynn University magazine, make a short documentary featured in the university’s Film Festival, and created a radio PSA that was later broadcasted overseas.