Is it a biopic? A music video? It’s Elton John’s story, told his way.
Some people write memoirs. Some people produce musicals about their lives.
Guess which path Elton John took?
I suppose, if you’ve lived a life as colorful and creative as his, you want to be in charge of how your story is told. And wow, this story is told in amazing multicolored glory and with full musical spectacle.
The story begins with Elton John stomping down a corridor clad in glittering bright orange. You think he’s on his way to a brightly lit stage, piano at the ready. Instead, he bursts into what looks like an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. And this is how we examine his life: through the eyes of a man struggling with addiction of pretty much every sort (by his own admission), through the memories of a man considering how his choices and his experiences brought him to this time and place.
It’s what you would expect of a biopic about a musical personality. Elton John’s struggles, from childhood through adolescence, until adulthood, are told in song and dance, with elaborate production numbers worthy of classic Hollywood films.
I suppose it’s also what you would expect of such a colorful personality as Elton John. The glamorous costumes, the ostentatious eyewear, the incredibly energetic performances: all are presented as larger-than-life events. His struggles with his sexuality, his romances, and his sexual escapades are all told with the electricity and excitement of a live concert. His anguish and conflicts with his parents are recounted with heartbreaking drama.
It helps that Elton John’s songs are the songs of our childhood, of our parents’ romances, of the movies we love and scenes we can’t forget. Who can forget Ewan McGregor singing “Your Song” in Moulin Rouge? Who hasn’t tried singing “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” at the office videoke party? Who hasn’t wept over “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me?” Sometimes, you don’t even realize how many Elton John songs you know until you start singing through your tears.
And if all that spectacle doesn’t take your heart and crush it, then perhaps this will: Taron Egerton did all his own singing in Rocketman.
It may be a bit of a shock, especially if all you’ve seen of Egerton is from the Kingsman films. But man, this boy can sing. And apparently, so can Richard Madden! Even better, you hear Madden’s real accent (spoiler alert: it’s really sexy). And you get to see Jamie Bell dance a little bit.
Of course, as with anything based on true events, people are going to point out inaccuracies. People might argue that that things didn’t happen that way. But that’s okay. This is Elton John’s story, and like a true artist, he wants to tell it in his own glamorous way.
Just like Elton John, this movie is a tour de force of music and emotion, spectacle, and excitement. From the very start of the movie until the last scene, there is song and dance and drama. It’s going to break your heart and put it back together, and you’ll find yourself laughing through tears.