Indiana Daily Student

REVIEW: “Rocketman” biopic does not disappoint with Elton John’s story

Taron Egerton plays Elton John in Rocketman from Paramount Pictures.
Taron Egerton plays Elton John in Rocketman from Paramount Pictures.

Last year, the movie “Bohemian Rhapsody” rocked the world with its telling of the story of Queen. This year, “Rocketman” dazzles and delights with its telling of the story of Elton John.

Directed by Dexter Fletcher, John’s story is brought to life with help from the legend himself, with John as an executive producer. It tells everything from his childhood talents and tribulations, to his drug-and-alcohol-induced fame and to his recovery in rehab.

John’s visit to rehab is how the movie begins, with him admitting himselfwhile wearing a bright orange jumpsuit, devil's horns and feathery wings. From there, the film continues as John recalls his life from memory as to how he ended up in rehab.

Caught between a full-on musical and movie, “Rocketman” impresses with its incorporation of John's hits with outstanding group dance numbers and bright, flashy costumes, including the recreation of some of John’s most iconic costumes himself — can someone say, sequined Dodgers outfit?

Sitting through the movie, it was hard not to sing along to the numerous classic jams it included. From the opening number “The Bitch Is Back,” to “Tiny Dancer” and “Bennie and the Jets,” to “Rocket Man,” it is impossible to not want to blare his whole discography on the drive home afterward.  

The cast is phenomenal, with Taron Egerton putting together the most striking performance in the film as John. Egerton encompasses John flawlessly making it hard to spot too many differences.

Other notable performances came from Bryce Dallas Howard who played the role of John’s unforgiving and apathetic mother, and Jamie Bell as John’s best friend and songwriter Bernie Taupin.

“Rocketman” was Elton John in movie form. It was full of flamboyant charm with glitz and glamor but with a dark inner story not many know about. The film highlighted Elton’s rough past with not only fame and drugs, but with his family and sexuality as well.

What makes “Rocketman” stand out from biopics like "Bohemian Rhapsody" is its focus on John's sexuality. Fletcher ensured that it was a major aspect of the film because John struggled with his sexuality and coming out during the height of his fame. To portray John honestly, his sexuality could not be implied or glazed over.

“Rocketman” doesn’t do much wrong. It is one of the few biopics that not only tells someone’s story, but really feels like someone’s story. It doesn’t shy away from his homosexuality — and shouldn’t — and is completely Elton John. It flies high.

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