ROCKETMAN - By Sabrina Joshi

When you hear the name ‘Elton John’, one thinks of the elaborate costumes, the flashy shades, and his iconic songs. A force to be reckoned with during the 60s and 70s, Elton John continues to be a giant in the music industry today. 

Paramount Studio’s latest film, Rocketman (named after his classic hit song), tells the extraordinary life story of Elton John and brilliantly humanizes this larger-than-life figure.

After Lee Hall wrote the script, it took Elton and Rocketman’s producer, David Furnish, over a decade to create this musical extravaganza. Once Hollywood’s successful producer and director Matthew Vaughn was added to the mix, Rocketman finally propelled to production. Now the big challenge remained who would play the music legend.

British actor Taron Egerton, best known for the Kingsman film series, takes on the lead role as Elton John. He delivers an outstanding performance and brilliantly adopts Elton’s mannerisms and his flamboyant spirit. Egerton’s musical talents further add to his incredible portrayal, as he sings all of Elton’s songs in the film rather than lip syncing. It was important to Elton that the right person steps into his shoes for the role. He says, “I wanted someone who could do an interpretation of me – not just by their acting, but with my music. Finding someone who could do that had always been incredibly hard. But then we met Taron Egerton”. 

Director Dexter Fletcher reveals the life of the superstar through a series of flashbacks, starting from Elton’s childhood to his rise to stardom until 1990. Before the dazzling outfits and flamboyant personality, Elton John was known as Reginald Kenneth Dwight: a shy, piano prodigy living in North London. We learn of his humble beginnings and his troubled relationship with his inattentive mother, Sheila Farebrother (Bryce Dallas Howard), and his cold and uncaring father (Steven Mackintosh). Amidst his difficult home life, this lonely young boy pursued his dreams and became one of the greatest entertainers of all time.

Rocketman also follows Elton’s relationships with Bernie Taupin and John Reid. Portrayed by Jamie Bell, Bernie Taupin is Elton’s songwriter and best friend of 50 years. The two have collaborated on over 30 albums together and have one of the most successful, creative partnerships in music history. John Reid is portrayed by Scottish actor, Richard Madden, best known for his role in Game of Thrones as Robb Stark. Reid was Elton’s first long-term boyfriend and manager of 28 years. At the height of his career, Elton hit rock bottom when his personal relationship with Reid ended. Elton’s tumultuous relationship with Reid, along with his struggles with sexuality, loneliness, and drug addiction landed him into rehab. Elton John often struggled with his inner demons, which brought out the worst in him. He himself underlines, he behaved badly. Elton recounts, “I behaved like a monster and was completely irrational… But I prefer to release the honest version”. 

Rocketman is an authentic homage to Sir Elton John, his beloved music, and his extraordinary life of highs and lows. Elton remarks, “What these guys have done with my story is astonishing. It’s brutally honest and doesn’t pull any punches. This movie is about when I started to become famous, it was an extraordinary and surreal time, and that’s how I wanted the film to be.” 

Releasing on May 31, 2019, the movie is a delightful film, well worth seeing. Even if you’re not a fan of Elton John: you will not be disappointed.