Movie Review: Rocketman (2019)

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Summary: A musical fantasy about the fantastical human story of Elton John’s breakthrough years.
Pros:
Cast and Characters.
  • Taron Egerton as Elton John. Taron is BRILLIANT. I don’t know a ton about Elton John. I’m a fan of some of his songs but I’ve never been like an “Elton John” fan but from what I am aware of, he does a great job. He doesn’t look like him that much he manages to portray a great interpretation of the legend. He was mesmerizing anytime he was on screen. Whenever he portrayed him on stage with the songs, just wow. The energy is captivating AND he does all his own singing which there are times where he does sound like Elton John but if you are a fan of Elton John then you’ll know it’s not him singing but Taron but he pays a nice homage of sounding like him while also doing his own interpretation of his songs. Gosh, he’s sooo good. The emotional points of Elton’s life, the sad points, the performances, all of it… he’s so good. I’m so proud of him and I’m such a fan and a supporter. I hope this opens a ton of doors for him and he better get an Oscar nomination.
  • Jamie Bell as Bernie Taupin. I’ve always loved Jamie Bell; I think he’s a very good actor and he doesn’t get enough recognition. Bernie is the songwriter for a lot of Elton’s earlier songs, if not all of them. They are best friends and he’s always in Elton’s corner, even if they argue. Bernie is the low-key one compared to Elton’s flamboyant personality or “persona” and it works for him. He’s supportive but he also knows when to step back. He never gets mad, at least to the point where he corrupts himself or Elton. I liked him a lot. He was a strong force in the film and I think he should also get an Oscar nomination. He does his own singing as well.
  • Richard Madden as John Reid. Robb Stark lives! lol but Elton meets John at a party, they share a moment and become close. Throughout the early times in the film, we see them connect, share moments and Taron and Richard have really good chemistry. After a while, John becomes his manager and things start to turn a little sour. I haven’t seen everything he’s been in but it was interesting to see him become such a “jerk”. He’s really good at it though. He’s very intimidating and he’s great. He also sings in the movie, alongside Taron.
Supporting Characters. There are a lot of other people we meet in the film. Charlie Rowe, Tate Donovan, Bryce Dallas Howard, Gemma Jones and everyone serves their purpose and are great. I think the other person who really stands out here is Bryce Dallas Howard, I’m not sure about her accent but at playing Elton’s mother, she was beautiful detached lol. One of her best scenes is when Elton calls her over the phone to come clean. Also, the scene at the end when he’s faced with all the people in his life who really meant something to him. Everyone else is great too.
It’s a Musical. Being that it’s a biopic of Elton John’s life, a singer, you can expect music in the film but it’s definitely a musical. Yes, you have the songs that are performed on stage or while Elton is recording but there are also instances in the film where they just burst into song. The cast sings all the songs. Taron Egerton doesn’t “cover” Elton’s songs but he sings them with his own style and interoperation but it still sounds like the actual song. It’s just not him tending sound like Elton John. He does sometimes but I think if you are a huge fan of Elton John then you’ll be aware he’s not lip synching to recordings. I think they do a great job at making sure it sounds like the real songs but allowing Taron to do his thing. I even saw a behind the scenes about the recording and Elton John said he didn’t want them to copy him but to just let Taron sing. I think that was important and it worked for me.
Emotional. There’s a lot that Elton goes through in the film. I don’t know how true it all is but it’s a movie, that’s doesn’t quite matter. No one said it was a play by play of his life. But as a child, he already felt alienated from his dad who wouldn’t hug him, his mother was detached (while weirdly supportive), and as he got older, he had different problems. Dealing with his sexuality, the hardships from being in the music industry and then his issues with John Reid. A lot of it is really sad because he just buried it with drugs, sex and alcohol and you see how it affects him. I love all the group session scenes because he got to talk about it in real time.
Direction/Energy. There are a TON of great directing choices in this movie. First of all, with it being a musical, we get to see a lot of of special filming choices. Like at the beginning when Elton joins the AAA group, he starts talking about his life, he breaks out into song, and we go to his childhood home with his kid self and the transition is seamless! Then when we finally catch up to his teenage self during a song where everyone is outside dancing, another seamless transition. One of my favorite instances though, is after he tries to commit suicide in the pool, he falls down and sees himself as a child singing, they sing together and then this entire sequence is them trying to save him from his overdose but also preparing him for his Rocketman performance while he’s in the baseball outfit. It’s so good. There’s so many moments of this throughout the movie, that I was like “Wow! that’s amazing!”. Plus, it’s a very bright and colorful film. I’m glad they went in that direction, to make it almost look surreal and imaginative instead of gritty and dramatic. It still is that but they don’t for that on the viewer.
Cons:
Lack of Connection. While I love this movie, I think it’s hard to gauge whether or not you feel connected to these characters to really care about them other than the fact that the acting is great and that the scenes are beautiful. It’s hard to say if the characters are interesting other than the fact that they’re based on real people, or that you really come to care about them. Because of the musical pace, we race through a lot of development or moments that might have been great dramatically but because of the nature of the film, we don’t get to sit in those moments.
Overall, I think this movie is fantastic. Rocketman is a must-see movie for anyone who loves Elton John’s music, anyone who loves musicals and anyone who appreciates colorful direction. I think it would also be a must see for anyone in the LGBT community. It doesn’t make a joke out of Elton’s sexuality nor does it feel forced even though it’s part of who he is. The acting is fantastic out of everyone in this film, particularly Taron Egerton leading the helm. Jamie Bell and Richard Madden are also fantastic. All the acting is great in the film. The music is great with a lot of recognizable songs with Taron doing his thing. He can sing y’all. It’s an emotional film and hits a lot of highs and lows. Also, the direction and aesthetic of the movie is also a standout in itself. The choices for sequences are great! Gosh, this movie is so good. My only negative is that it might be hard to see the character development or even really connect to them because we’re kind of kept at arm’s length throughout the film. We’re like on the outside looking in and while you may relate, you may not be able to connect due to the nature of the film. But otherwise, it’s a great movie! Check it out!
Rating: 4.7 out of 5 stars.
Have you seen Rocketman? What did you think of it? What is your favorite film about a singer?
Let me know in the comments below! Thanks for reading and be sure to like, comment and follow this blog for more movie reviews.
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