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Rocketman: “Looking Like a True Survivor”

Making a biopic about a person is challenging enough, it is even more so if the person is still alive to see it and if the person is so interestingly complex. The makers of Rocketman avoided the clichés, and with their work cut out for them in creating a biopic about Elton John, they portray him as “Looking like a true survivor”.

Rocketman is a rock biography about the childhood, rise, struggles, and success of Reginald Dwight; better known as the legendary Elton John (Taron Egerton).

Although this film may seem like just another “star rising to fame and struggling with the rock and roll lifestyle” cliché story, it definitely isn’t. The feature is just as unique as the legend it is about, with deep insight into not only the musician’s struggle with himself, but where the issues came from and how they developed.

Rocketman starts with an adult Elton John in therapy, admitting he is a cocaine addict, a sex addict, a bulimic, an alcoholic, a shopaholic, and more. Then the audience is taken through the rollercoaster journey of Elton’s childhood and career. Even though this setup is not exactly novel, the events and how they are handled without holding anything back is ultimately refreshing.

The characters were also far from cliché; Elton’s mother (Bryce Dallas Howard) was a plausible mixture of toxic, motherly, sarcastic, and narcissistic. Elton’s father rejected him and showed him no affection, and the scene where Elton visits his father after he had remarried and had two other children is one of the film’s most heartbreaking (and there are more than a few heartbreaking scenes).

Steering away from another formulaic route, the effect and presence of Elton’s parents continued through other parts of his life rather than remain hindered in his childhood, which is much more realistic.

The other side of the feature, which was not so realistic, are the musical performances; the film tossed away the chronological order for the creation of the songs and instead chose to employ the songs where they would add to the plot. This decision, along with the catching familiarity of Elton John’s tunes and the elaborate dance routines, creates an explosive atmosphere.

Major kudos also needs to go to the costume design team, as the elaborate and eccentric costumes were very intricately executed and portray the spirit of Elton John.

For the acting, Taron Egerton was incredible; Egerton became one with his character and was not only able to show Elton John’s confidence and extravagance on stage but also his vulnerability and personal struggles off it. Egerton was the reason that this film works, and after his stellar performance, it is hard to imagine anyone else playing the part. Bryce Dallas Howard also gave a strong supporting performance with a tough character that includes many contradictions.

An explosive musical ride that will be amazing for die-hard Elton John and musical fans, but not so much for others.

Like This? Try

Bohemian Rhapsody (2018), The Greatest Showman (2017), A Star Is Born (2018), Ray (2004).

360 Tip

Taron Egerton wears 53 different pairs of glasses throughout the film.

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