Rocketman (2019)

Dexter Fletcher directs Taron Egerton, Bryce Dallas Howard and Jamie Bell in this musical biopic of Elton John, the most flamboyant, coke fuelled shy person you’ve ever met.

This is a tough one. I’ve never been a massive fan of Elton John’s music (it is, to revive a period appropriate phrase, … bloody naff) nor his personality. Yet I do I like the main cast, especially Egerton who always has an unguarded loveableness in how he throws himself broadly into the unattractive areas of his lead roles. He can do chav, bumbling naive idiot or uneven screaming queen without losing his boyish charm. The visual direction is far braver than the similar Bohemian Rhapsody but both films bear the weight of their living subjects having too much creative power. This portrait of Elton is happier to show the warts but you really want even more tantrums and less “poor me”. The film is happy to admit Elton can be an utter shit but always under the oft-repeated excuse that he really just needed a cuddle and approval. Well, there are lots of people who have cold upbringings and rocky relationships who don’t end sitting on a pile of money, cocks and coke. So I shan’t be shedding a tear for the stroppy old superstar… Not if he is unwilling to show us just how bad he gets without the caveat of “I wasn’t the worst.” I’ve bought a ticket for rocket fuelled naughty behaviour, not a therapy session to MOR hits. Doesn’t even have the common decency to end on a big Live Aid showstopper.


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