In Dick James's office in the late 1960s, Elton sings the first bar of 'Sad Songs (say so much)' only to be met with James's remark "Too depressing". This song was not actually written by Bernie Taupin until 1983 (and released in 1984). At the same meeting he also sings a portion of 'I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues' (written in 1982 by Taupin and released in 1983). Whilst these are technically anachronisms, the filmmakers have also said this film is not a factually correct biography and that they took some liberties for the sake of the story. See more »
The film has a 'text ending'. It reveals that Elton John has been sober for 28 years and counting (but still has a problem with shopping), has established a successful aids charity that has raised over $400 million for HIV/ aids sufferers, is still friends with Bernie Taupin and has never had an argument with him, has finally found proper love with his now husband David Furnish, and has retired from making music in order to focus on raising his two sons. See more »
Although classical music and opera is more my cup of tea/forte, that has never stopped me from having always admired Elton John and loving most of his songs. "Your Song", "Something About the Way You Look Tonight", "I'm Still Standing" and pretty much all the songs in 'The Lion King' are especially great, one of the few exceptions being "Crocodile Rock". He is/was also a quite interesting man, both stage persona and personal life, and the period that is primarily focused on is a very compelling one and worthy of being told on film.
'Rocketman' was not a perfect film, but on the most part it was thoroughly enjoyable and at its best dazzlingly executed when seeing it in the cinema earlier this year. As far as films released in 2019 goes, 'Rocketman' is to me in the better half. Even if accuracy and the chronology can be called into question, it still makes John and his personal life, detailing his childhood, early career and how it came to be and the troubled period of his career, quite fascinating. As well as being worthy of a lot of admiration in its own right.
Not everything works. For my liking, the last twenty minutes or so are executed too tidily.
While John and Bernie Taupin are well rounded and fully realised characters, the other characters, despite being well acted by particularly Bryce Dallas Howard, felt like underdeveloped caricatures (i.e. the parents' cold behaviour towards Reggie not being explained).
However, 'Rocketman' has so many things working in its favour and more so than the bad. First and foremost, Taron Egerton. A totally committed and quite brilliant performance full of confidence, swagger, flair, subtlety and nuance, not to mention a great singing voice, treating John with respect without impersonating him. The scene where he opens up to his mother and his reaction to her cold response was heart-breaking in particular. Jamie Bell is the other performance worthy of note and the relationship between John and Taupin is handled beautifully, with the right amount of intensity but also taste. One can tell how well they clicked and feel their mutual affection and it really drives the film and at times the heart of it.
It looks great too, beautifully photographed and John's flamboyant costumes are a sight to behold, one of the bigger examples being that unlike-anything-you've-seen-before one in the therapy. The songs are as magnificent as one expects and staged with a lot of brio and confidence without being overblown. The very moving "Your Song", performance and the understated staging, being a big standout in this regard, another powerful part being with what is done with the opening of "Yellow Brick Road", done so truthfully and mirroring what is going on at that present moment without spelling it out too much and showing how much Taupin cares for John. Heck, the film even manages to make "Crocodile Rock" tolerable in one of the film's more exuberant moments.
The script manages to be both entertaining and sincere, underneath all the flashiness there is depth too. There may be conventional moments in the story (a lot of biopics though are like that), but the scenes showing off John's unique showmanship are difficult to look away from and the story detailing John's troubled personal life at the time is powerful. A great job is done showing who John is, what he is and how his mind worked when dealing with troubles and when he was writing and performing. Dexter Fletcher's direction is adept.
Summing up, a very, very good and often great film that just misses out on being brilliant. 8/10
30 of 38 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this