Rocketman (2019)

Director: Dexter Fletcher
Writer: Lee Hall
Cast: Taron Egerton, Jamie Bell, Richard Madden, Bryce Dallas Howard, Gemma Jones, Steven Mackintosh, Tom Bennett, Matthew Illesley, Kit Connor, Tate Donovan, Ophelia Lovibond, Harriet Walter, Stephen Graham
Seen on: 11.6.2019

Content Note: (critical treatment of) homomisia

Elton John (Taron Egerton) has reached a low point. Now he is in a rehab facility, trying to get better. Part of that is trying to piece together how he got to where he is now. So he reflects on his childhood as Reggie with his parents (Bryce Dallas Howard, Steven Mackintosh) and his grandmother (Gemma Jones), how he discovered music for himself and with his cooperation with Bernie (Jamie Bell), and how he meets producer John (Richard Madden). Especially his complicated relationship with John that makes Elton come to grips with his homosexuality, but also causes him a lot of pain.

Rocketman is not the best film you will ever see, but it is a really good one, with a great lead and awesome music.

The film poster showing Elton John (Taron Egerton) in a feather costume and huge glasses on stage in a stadium, playing the piano in full rock mode.

I guess you can’t go much wrong with Elton John’s biggest hits as one of the driving forces of the films. That dude really has some bangers, and they use them wisely in the film. And Taron Egerton really is the perfect casting choice. I really can’t imagine that anybody else could have done a better job and look more like Elton John himself than him. Really fantastic.

The only thing that maybe outshines botht he music and Egerton are the (stage) costumes. They are simply perfect. In fact, as the photo comparison shows at the end of the film, they are both utterly faithful to the originals and an improvement of them.

Elton John (Taron Egerton) playing th piano, his feet in the air as he floats up.

That being said, the movie does run a tad too long and at the same time, it oversimplifies a bit. They have one version of Elton John that is absolutely coherent and they are sticking to that. And we all know that people just aren’t without their contradictions, so there could have been a bit more complexity.

Where the film does show complexity is in its portrayal of homomisia, though, and the many shapes it can come in (when Elton’s mother obliterates him with her casual disdain, I broke right along with him). At the same time, the film also allows for good relationships and I especially liked his relationship with Bernie – that was so well captured and utterly real.

The film ends on a high note without really forcing an ending on a story that just isn’t over. That is an art in and of itself and rounds off a wonderfully entertaining film.

Elton John (Taron Egerton) in a golden jacket on a private plane.

Summarizing: really good.

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