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"Rocketman" soars high

Taron Egerton as Elton John in a scene from "Rocketman." Picture: AP

Taron Egerton as Elton John in a scene from "Rocketman." Picture: AP

Published Jun 3, 2019


Taron Egerton embodies Sir Elton John in Rocketman for an enjoyable musical journey. 

Rating: 4/5

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"Rocketman" tells the story of music icon Sir Elton John’s early years. The film takes a look at his troubled family life, his coming out journey and the up and downs of fame and fortune. Going into "Rocketman" as a millennial with little knowledge of John’s early career was interesting since I’m most familiar with the latter part. 

And even though he is a queer music icon, his most impactful years happened in the 70s and 80s. Which for obvious reasons I wasn’t around for and really only know him for his contribution to "The Lion King" soundtrack and being one of Lady Gaga’s muses and friends. 

Seeing his impact on the music industry is something music fans and his adoring fans will appreciate. The level of rawness shown within Rocketman is also very earnest and I was shocked that John allowed so much of his life to be shown. John is an executive producer on the film as it shows in the level of information being shared throughout the film, and the audience is let into very personal moments in the "Your Song" singer’s life. 

Director Dexter Fletcher opted to have "Rocketman" be a hybrid of a biopic and a musical. The film’s musical sequences are extremely well conceptualised and filmed. 

The costume design evokes the exuberance we’ve come to expect from John and really is amazing to see on the big screen. However, due to making this movie a hybrid, the music at times takes precedence over storytelling and it would have helped if there was more breathing space between musical numbers. 

In the film, Fletcher and screenwriter Lee Hall weren’t afraid to showcase the gay aspects of John’s life with sex scenes being shown with no awkward pan to a tree for example. 

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Egerton is surprisingly convincing as John and his singing voice really does sound like a younger version of John. 

Egerton has been struggling since his exit from the "Kingsmen" franchise and he really gives a complex and gripping performance in "Rocketman". The supporting cast was great throughout the movie with Jamie Bell as John’s longtime writing partner Bernie Taupin and Bryce Dallas Howard as John’s mother Sheila really giving stellar performances. 

One of the few downsides of the movie is the pacing. After a while, it does feel as if the film is dragging along and Fletcher could have done a better job in keeping the film moving instead of losing steam in the third act. 

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Overall, "Rocketman" is an enjoyable film and really does give an honest tribute to the icon that is Sir Elton John. The musical numbers are grand, the acting is great and this is a must watch film for Elton John fans. On a side note, I hope this will be last time a movie about a queer icon is played by a cisgender heterosexual person. Egerton does a great job, but can we have more queer actors tell queer stories in future please?

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