“Rocketman”, an impressive musical fantasy directed by Dexter Fletcher, tells the uncensored story of Sir Elton John’s breakthrough years, his struggle with addiction and finding the purest form of love from those close to him.
The story begins with John (Taron Egerton) admitting he’s an alcoholic, a drug addict, a sex addict and a shopaholic at a group therapy session. He then tells his story to fame and fortune through biopic scenes and musical numbers set in his hometown of Pinner, England.
Egerton is terrific as the singer in the movie – bringing an electrifying energy and high-level performance with him each time he goes on stage. Although he plays a character troubled by self-loathing and insecurities, Egerton does a great job of making the character multi-dimensional. Egerton’s commitment to the role shows as he effortlessly portrays the conflict John faces between his inner diva and pure musical genius.
Part of the appeal to this movie is the brightly colored sequined outfits, big hats and sunglasses and striking platform boots, many of which were close replicas to outfits John wore in the 70s and 80s. The musical numbers and dance routines also add an element of excitement for audiences, as they can sing along with some of John’s classic hits like, “Saturday Night is Alright (For Fighting)” and “Crocodile Rock.”
The main conflict in John’s story is his struggle to find love and acceptance. Being a gay man in the music industry, John’s parents never could never fully accept him for who he is. His father divorced his mother and left him to start another family, and his mother admits to being a disappointment in his lifestyle choice.
While in the industry, John finds himself in a romantic relationship with his manager and mentor, John Reid (Richard Madden). The relationship started off successful; Reid guided John to be the mainstream musical icon in America that he is today. After several years of fame, and copious amounts of drugs and alcohol, John finds himself lonelier than ever.
The story ends on a positive note, circling back to John, now a middle-aged man, in rehab getting help for his addictions. His long-time friend, Bernie Taupin, (Jamie Bell) who was with John throughout his career writing his songs and helping with the music, comes to visit John. It is a touching moment to see the brotherly love Taupin gives John, as the audience realizes that Elton will have and has always had a true friend.
John – now 30 years sober and married to David Furnish – is the ultimate success story of a troubled musician struggling with identity and finding himself in life. John is currently the 8th highest-certified music artist in the United States, according to the Recording Industry of America. He also founded the Elton John Aids Foundation, a nonprofit organization that has supported innovative HIV prevention, education services, and direct care since 1992.
Amanda Britt is the photo editor of the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @AmandaBritt__.