Rocketman launches into theatres

On the surface, Elton John’s 1972 hit “Rocket Man (I Think It’s Going to Be a Long, Long Time)” is about an astronaut preparing to go to Mars, with lyrics revealing a life that is adored by the public but is quite lonely and difficult for the individual.   

Now, Dexter Fletcher’s musical biopic Rocketman makes it more evident than ever before that these lyrics truly represent the life of a rock star. 

 Rocketman, in theatres May 31, recounts the story of how a shy British boy named Reginald Dwight transformed into one of the most iconic musicians of our time.  

Delivering all of the dazzling illusions one would expect from a movie about Elton John, the film spins the typical biopic formula into a spectacularly fantastical and nonlinear musical, without hiding any of the hardships he experienced. 

The film opens with Elton John, played by Taron Egerton, marching into a rehabilitation centre dressed in a bright orange, winged jumpsuit, beginning to unfold his life story in group therapy. 

Clever reimaginings of his legendary discography also help him narrate his life from boyhood with Elton and his choreographed neighbours belting “The Bitch Is Back” when his mother comes home, to an intimate “Tiny Dancer” that illustrates Elton’s inner monologue at a party. 

For the most part, this biopic does not tell the story of how the songs were written, instead of taking them out of chronological order and placing them where their lyrics fit best in Elton’s life.  The decision to do this biopic as a fullfledged musical seems only fitting with the outrageous entertaining style that Elton John has always been known for, but it also emphasizes just how much these songs intertwine with our lives.

The decision to do this biopic as a full-fledged musical seems only fitting with the outrageous entertaining style that Elton John has always been known for, but it also emphasizes just how much these songs intertwine with our lives. 

Although the titular song only appears once  bringing Elton through a suicide attempt and a hospital, and then landing him right back on stage in his iconic Dodgers costume as he plasters a brilliant fake smile over his exhausted face  its lyrics follow him throughout the film. 

Although the titular song only appears once — bringing Elton through a suicide attempt and a hospital, and then landing him right back on stage in his iconic Dodgers costume as he plasters a brilliant fake smile over his exhausted face — its lyrics follow him throughout the film.

While struggling with his identity as he tries to cover up who he used to be, feeling helpless under the constant pressure of the music industry and developing severe addictions, he ends up blasting off with commercial success but distanced from the life he thought he knew. 

The film’s use of completely fantastical and imaginary scenes also help to depict the otherworldly, fast-paced experience of fame, as Elton’s piano spins through various audiences and outfit changes, or when he and his audience levitate to “Crocodile Rock” during his first American performance at the Troubadour in Los Angeles.


Rocketman also doesn’t hesitate to act out situations that are startlingly more real, such as the heartbreaking manipulation Elton endures from his manager and boyfriend John Reid (Richard Madden), or the terribly loveless home he was raised in, and his mother’s (Bryce Dallas Howard) cold refusal to accept his sexuality. 

Despite all of the pain Elton goes through when his career takes off, Rocketman is still undoubtedly hopeful. From his sometimes rocky but always supportive friendship with his lyricist Bernie Taupin (Jamie Bell), to the inspirational rekindling of his passion for songwriting, Elton finds a way to love his life again.  

By embracing the real and representing it through the fantastic, Rocketman is a colourful, emotional, and ultimately refreshing new take on the biopic genre.  

With a surprisingly stunning vocal performance by Egerton, impressive replicas of Elton John’s actual stage costumes of the 1970s, and a screenplay that doesn’t pull any punches, this really is an entertaining movie, regardless of how big of an Elton John fan you are. 

Soaring through all of the glitz, glam, and grit with flying colours, “it’s gonna be a long, long time” until Rocketman touches down. 

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