Taron Egerton, known for Kingman and Eddie the Eagle plays Elton John in the biopic, Rocketman. The film starts with Elton John facing his demons by heading to a support group and talking about his life as a child. From the very first musical sequence, the film proudly announces what it is; a musical biopic that will have audiences dancing in their seats. As the story continues, we get to experience Elton’s rise to fame as well as his struggles with addiction, a horrible and loveless childhood and his beloved music intricately woven into events in his life, giving some of them a whole new perspective for the audience.
Taron’s performance is superb and glistens and glitters with all the magic and wonder that Elton John presents, but where he shines is the moments where we see the demons that have haunted Elton since childhood. His moments of desperation, loneliness, and anger are electrifying and profoundly affect the audience. A lot of people are comparing this to last year’s Bohemian Rhapsody, and one of the things that makes Rocketman different is that Taron is singing the music and wow, does it make the audience swoon. You need to look no further than the scene in which he sings “Your Song,” and you will 100% be under his spell. It is something so raw and straightforward but will enchant audiences the world over. I would be shocked if we didn’t see his name in the Best Actor category this year.
The supporting cast is terrific, and Bryce Dallas Howard as Elton’s mother, Sheila, gives one of her best performances in years. She proves that when given good material, she can showcase her talents as an actress. Jamie Bell, as Bernie Taupin, Elton’s long-time writing partner, plays the best friend very well and is believable. I would have liked to see a bit more of him in the film. Richard Madden, as John Reid gives a layered performance that is fantastic. As the manager and master manipulator, Richard Madden is perfect. He has the charm and charisma, but also the wickedness that the role requires. It should also be noted that the young actors who played the younger versions of Elton, Matthew Illesley and Kit Connor were fantastic.
Of course, the central part of the film, other than Elton himself, is his music. As mentioned before, the music is used very specifically in the film and embedded in different moments of Elton’s life. While there may have been some reworking of the music and time to add those songs in, they are still incredibly moving and emotional. In a lot of ways, the film plays much like a Broadway show and depending on its success; we may see it there very soon. The music and dance numbers are sensational. There are quiet and intimate moments like“Your Song,” but there are also bold and magical musical numbers like “Saturday Night’s Alright” in which we get a large ensemble dance that evokes the Broadway vibes.
Elton has a history of wearing some pretty memorable and sometimes outrageous clothing, and the film captures those looks and brings them to the big screen. The costume design by Julian Day will undoubtedly get some recognition come awards season. The amount of color, glitz, and glitter that are in the film are stunning. I can’t even imagine how many costumes there were for Elton alone. There is a scene, which is fantastic, where the piano is spinning around and around, and every time Elton is out of our sight, he comes back in with a new costume from head to toe.
Rocketman is the film that will finally get Taron Egerton the recognition he deserves as a wildly talented actor. The intimate story of a beloved musical icon vibrates with emotion, intensity, and passion. The musical numbers are pure magic and wonder which will delight and enchant audiences the world over. Rocketman sets its sights high and doesn’t disappoint. The costumes, set, performances, and music all work to create a film that is inspirational, enchanting, and a blast to watch. As you leave the theater, your toes will be tapping, and your feet just won’t keep still as the music of Elton John washes over you, making Rocketman the must-see film of the year!