Rent Rocketman (2019)

3.8 of 5 from 100 ratings
1h 56min
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"Rocketman" is an epic musical story about Elton John’s breakthrough years. The film follows the fantastical journey of transformation from shy piano prodigy Reginald Dwight into international superstar Elton John. This inspirational story - set to Elton John’s most beloved songs and performed by star Taron Egerton - tells the universally relatable story of how a small-town boy became one of the most iconic figures in pop culture.
, , , , , , , Matthew Illesley, , , Peter O'Hanlon, Ross Farrelly, Evan Walsh, , , , Celinde Schoenmaker, , ,
Universal Pictures
British Films, Drama, Coming Soon, Music & Musicals, Sci-Fi & Fantasy
Release Date:
Run Time:
116 minutes
Release Date:
Run Time:
116 minutes
Release Date:
Run Time:
121 minutes

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Reviews (1) of Rocketman

Enjoyable song-and-dance movie biopic which plays fast and loose with reality - Rocketman review by PV

Spoiler Alert

I enjoyed this, but not as much as Bohemian Rhapsody, perhaps because I am more of a Queen fan and have never really been a massive Elton John fan (despite going to a concert on his final tour this very week!).

Both movies are 'based on a true fantasy' and play fast and loose with the truth and timeline - songs written in the 80s feature in the 70s etc (such as I'm Still Standing which is 1983!). Also, I always heard Elton got his surname from Long John Baldry in whose band he played - that is all left out here. As are friendships with Freddie Mercury, George Michael and Princess Diana. It's all 1970s-focused and set, even if the timeline for a lot is the 80s. It's still the 70s in its heart!

I have read am interview with one of Elton's half-brothers (who lives an alternative lifestyle making tee-pees in north Wales) which states the negative portrayal of their father is wrong and inaccurate - and I am sure it is. Drama needs baddies to overcome. I know Elton was estranged from his mum was 15 years until shortly before her death in 2017 because she gave an interview he disapproved of - and Elton's been sober 28 years, it says at the end. SO Elton seems hardly angelic himself in his petty ruthless behaviour and would seem to still have a god complex of some sort.

I found the therapy-like emphasis that a lack of hugs from daddy messed up little Reggie Dwight's head tiresome - as if that matters! Until very recently, dads did not hug their kids. Does that make them all monsters? Arguably, kids were LESS messed up in the past when dads did not hug them every day and when most kids had 2 parents at home, a mum and a dad. Discuss...

As in most movies which show alcohol and drug abuse (eg Wolf of Wall Street) the abuser looks the picture of heath - no days in bed with DTs and cold sweats. Watch The Lost Weekend to see that, or Leaving Las Vegas. Vodka for breakfast is not sustainable!

The gay sex scenes are so mild too - even THAT'LL BE THE DAY the classic rock n roll movie from the early 70s with David Essex showed more explicit scenes. No idea what the fuss is about!

This is really a song and dance movie, (music arranged by George Martin's son), a fluffy musical at heart. BUT a great performance by Welsh actor Taron Egerton which should win him an Oscar but probably won't because he's not black or visibly ethnic - or female. Ho hum...

Good to watch if you're in the right mood, and designed to have mass appeal - a sort of white 1970s Bollywood movie in places (and an Indian dance routine is even there at a fairground scene set in the early 60s. Yeah, right...)

Worth watching just to Taron Egerton's brilliant performance and the music. 4 stars.

0 out of 1 members found this review helpful.

Critic review

Rocketman review by Mark McPherson - Cinema Paradiso

It didn’t take long after the screening to hear the question asked of which was better; Rocketman or Bohemian Rhapsody? The answer is without question Rocketman but the question is presented mostly because of the director, Dexter Fletcher. After the major issues with Bryan Singer not delivering on Bohemian Rhapsody, Fletcher was called in to perform last-minute fixes on an otherwise sloppy biopic of Queen and Freddie Mercury. Did Fletcher learn enough from this experience to deliver a better musical biopic? I’d like to think he did.

The story of Elton John is delivered with both compelling drama and brilliant use of his music, blending the two together in a stunning rock opera presentation. We follow him from the first time his fingers graced a piano, the music already forming in his mind. The story quickly takes shape of showcasing the young Elton as a musical prodigy, his astounding abilities turning a mere fascination in repeating music to forming his own sense of style and grace with professional training.

By the time Elton reaches adulthood, he’s played by a most-vocal and emotional Taron Egerton who can effortlessly rock the mic and piano like the true party Elton always seemed to be on stage. While we do follow his career that led to a record deal, messy contracts, and the inevitable use of drugs that is foreshadowed early with a warning, the real meat of this story is delving into the drama behind Elton’s secret sexuality. His homosexuality remains hidden behind his lavish outfits and a painful public perception that he struggles to maintain. He confesses such feelings to his buddy lyricist Bernie Taupin (Jamie Bell), but those feelings are not returned as Elton soon feels their brotherly bond grow distant with time. Elton later opens up to his manager John Reid (Richard Madden) that develops into a sexual relationship with a turbulent development. And even when Elton opens up to hi knowing mother, he receives no sympathy.

While there are some dark spots in Elton’s career of music, the music itself never feels distant, always used as the most opportune moments. Watch as a young Elton imagines an orchestra for composing the melody of Rocketman. He’ll later return to this song during a bad trip of drug overdosing, catching up with his younger self with Rocketman lyrics added. The music always feels present and never just used to showcase some concert footage. Even when we do get concert scenes, they’re usually highlighted by a fantastical personal vision, as with his first performance as The Troubador where he seems to defy gravity for himself and the audience with a mighty kick.

By its very assembly, I’ve no doubt that Rocketman does take some artistic license with its subject matter, what with it being a fantastical biopic that uses trippy transitions for skipping around time. But where Bohemian Rhapsody only felt like historical bullet points, Rocketman finds a personal and enthused edge to the wild ride of Elton’s life, wonderfully embraced by the legend himself. Worth noting is that Elton John fought to have this film be rated R to better showcase his life sex, drugs, and rock and roll. As Elton said himself, his life isn’t PG-13.

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