ROCKETMAN (2019)

Rocketman 2019 movie poster
The early life and career of superstar Elton John (Taron Egerton), born Reginald Dwight, unfolds as a musical fantasy. During a group therapy session, Elton reflects on his difficult childhood with cold mother Sheila (Bryce Dallas Howard), sympathetic grandmother Ivy (Gemma Jones) and distant disapproving father Stanley (Steven Mackintosh). Learning to play piano at an early age leads him to a life in music. A lasting friendship and songwriting partnership with lyricist Bernie Taupin (Jamie Bell) results in many chart hits. But not all goes smoothly. A relationship with manager John Reid (Richard Madden) ends badly. Drugs and alcohol enter the picture. Ups and downs follow - and life goes on.

Dazzling musical numbers, sets and costumes sparkle on the big screen in a biopic that truly captivates. This is the type of film that rises or falls on
the abilities of the star. Taron Egerton doesn't disappoint - rising magnificently. His stunning award-worthy performance hits on all emotions and his outstanding vocals bring Elton's songbook to life in a new way. For a couple of hours, he is Elton John. Director Dexter Fletcher, who helmed "Eddie the Eagle" starring Egerton, brilliantly weaves the colorful song renditions in and out of Lee Hall's moving screenplay, making the iconic singer's life seem almost surrealistic. "The Bitch is Back" and "Crocodile Rock" are among the showstoppers.  Fletcher is no stranger to this genre. He was brought in to finish "Bohemian Rhapsody" after Bryan Singer departed. We all know how that turned out - especially for Rami Malek. Jamie Bell leads a superb supporting cast as John's writing partner/best friend Bernie Taupin. As the superstar's parents, Bryce Dallas Howard and Steven Mackintosh play despicable well and so does Richard Madden as ruthless lover/manager John Reid. Also noteworthy are Matthew Illesley and Kit Connor as the younger versions of Reggie (Elton). The outrageous costumes, designed by Julian Day, play an important part - right from the opening scene: making an entrance in a rather devilish outfit while heading to rehab. Elton John is one of the executive producers, so I'm sure he had much to say about the look and sound. The result is eye-catching to say the least and will raise the bar on musical biographies. One final note: "(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again", written for this movie, is sung by Elton and Taron during the end credits. For the legions of the music legend's followers, this cinematic bio is your song. "Rocketman" rocks! (4/5 CAMS)

Rated R (for language throughout, some drug use and sexual content)
Running Time: 121 minutes

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