Rocketman follows the structure of a typical modern music man biopic: sad childhood, talent, quick rise, parties-drugs-sex, hitting rock bottom and then redemption. We’ve seen this before in Bohemian Rhapsody, which considering its success, I think this film would like to be compared to. Unlike the Freddie Mercury predecessor, this film focuses mainly on Elton’s rocky years struggling with addiction.
While I’d consider this film a musical and we are shown Elton John (Taron Egerton) and Bernie Taupin (Jamie Bell) writing songs together, this film is not all about the music. Instead, it is about Elton’s hard journey to accept and love himself. For so long, Elton hides behind his signature color, sparkle and flare. It can be heartbreaking seeing him try to find his happy stage face behind his huge glasses.
What really sets Rockman apart from other musicman biopics is hat the film often goes into a musical fantasy world. With the story being told by Elton, it makes sense. And at times it can this bit of fantasy can be a powerful tool. A magical moment where Elton and the crowd all seem to float is beautiful and uplifting as his career suddenly rises. Whereas, a low moment at the bottom of a pool singing with his childhood self is wonderfully surreal and helps move the story forward. What can I say, I was a sucker for it.
Just like Elton, this film is visually very entertaining. The fantasy aspect and colorful dance numbers are great and definitely feel like something out of Elton’s mind. But one of my favorite elements were the costumes. The credits highlights some of Elton’s iconic styles the movie recreated. Personally I’m a fan of that Jean jacket with all the patches in the Tiny Dancer scene.l I was also jealous of how Elton has a new pair of glasses in every scene. I stopped counting his glasses at 30.
Honestly, I mulled this film over in my head for a few days before I could honestly call it a great movie. It’s different, unabashedly. And in the end, that’s what makes it so wonderfully powerful. Watching Elton struggle with his addictions and with his sexuality and come out on the other side better than ever is joyful and can bring so much hope to others. Many have always admired his music and unique style and now, with that beautiful opening image of him opening those doors to a new life we have more to look up to. With pride month upon us, this film is a great way to celebrate.
“Where there is darkness, there is now you, and it’s going to be a wild ride.”