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June 3, 2019

Rocketman (2019) --- “The Only Way To Tell His Story Is To Live His Fantasy.”

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Hello, Movie Buffs!
    Directed by Dexter Fletcher (Bohemian Rhapsody, Eddie the Eagle) and written by Lee Hall (War Horse, Victoria & Abdul, Cats), Rocketman (2019) is an epic musical, fantasy that follows the uncensored life story of how shy schoolboy Reginald Dwight became a glam-rock icon, Sir Elton John
    Unlike Bohemian Rhapsody (2018), Rocketman is more of a musical that uses Elton John’s songs to tell his story from music prodigy to his breakout years to his struggles with depression, substance abuse, his sexual orientation, and who he really is. The film is presumably more truthful since it was made with both Elton’s blessing and some of his insight that results in a warts-and-all portrait that doesn’t try to hide from the truth. Director Fletcher and writer Hall did not shy away from showing the impact that fortune, fame, and the wrong influences can have on someone, especially someone who was not emotionally prepared to handle the success that comes with being a mega-star. The audience sees a respectful and psychological turn in his character from the heartbreaking “addictions” that he forces on himself to the uncut collision of dealing with his sexuality to the loss of love that he has felt from everyone around him since childhood. All of this is delivered raw and uncensored which gives the narrative a backbone to tell the story from. There are some similarities between Rocketman and Bohemian Rhapsody, what with Elton and Freddie having similar life stories and by using the same director for both films, there are also some major differences that set both films apart and allow them to stand on their own. In short, Rocketman is not Bohemian Rhapsody (Boh-Rap) and the sooner you understand that the better the film will be.
    One of the film’s major highlights is the music. The music is crucial to telling the story because it can be incredibly difficult to accomplish. However, similar to Boh-Rap, Rocketman succeeds in being a proper musical that also highlights major turning points in Elton’s life.
    The second major highlight of the film is the cast. The story and music could be perfect but if the actors are not able to successfully portray their respective characters effectively. This is by far Taron Egerton (Kingsmen, Robin Hood) performance best performance to date. His raw, electrifying, and slightly heartbreaking performances as Elton John is the film’s driving force. Thanks to special effects makeup, there were numerous times when it felt like you were seeing the real Elton John, not to mention his singing is virtually spot-on throughout most of the film. Jamie Bell (Turn) as Elton’s life-long friend and songwriter, Bernie Taupin was perfect and Bryce Dallas Howard (Jurassic World 1 & 2) as Elton’s mom was almost unrecognizable. Richard Madden (GOT, The Bodyguard) as John Reid, Elton’s first male lover, delivers an opposed and almost sadistic performance that will easily get under your skin. He is one of my favorite actors and I thought he did an amazing job with this character. The rest of the supporting cast - Stephen Graham as Dick James, Tate Donovan as L.A.'s Troubador Club manager Doug Weston, Gemma Jones as Elton’s grandmother, and Steven Mackintosh as Elton’s cold and uncaring father - were all great and only add to film’s overall success.
    Overall, Rocketman (2019) is an epic musical fantasy that follows the uncensored life of Elton John from being a shy schoolboy to a mega-star icon. The story is raw and vivid as it shines the light on the truth behind Elton’s rise to fame. In addition, the two major highlights of the film are the music, which fits in perfectly, and the cast performances, which were incredible. This is a film you do not want to miss, and while it may not be offered in IMAX, the cinematography makes you feel like it is. I highly recommend that you see this film but keep in mind that while it was made by the same director as Bohemian Rhapsody, Rocketman is its own film.  

Final Vote --- 9 of 10 stars

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Movies Similar
Bohemian Rhapsody (2018)
The Greatest Showman (2017)
La La Land (2016)
Mamma Mia (2008)
Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (2018)
Ray (2004)
A Star is Born (2018)

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