Rocketman… burning up his fuse up here alone….Bernie Taupin
I had wanted to see Rocketman in the theaters, but, true to form, didn’t make it to the cinema before it was out on demand. Mr. G. and I watched it a few nights ago. I can’t get it out of my mind. First of all, I was very skeptical. I didn’t think anyone could “do” Elton, except Elton. Elton has always been a hero of mine… his songs were the mile markers of my young life. I subsequently introduced his music to my kids, and “Pinball Wizard” was a part of their childhood soundtrack. So… skeptical. However, the fact that Mr. John was an Executive Producer and his husband, David Furnish, was producing the film made me think it would be worth a look. I’m glad I took a chance.
This film affected me deeply. Taron Egerton was superb in the part. Bryce Dallas Howard was amazing as Elton’s unloving mother (her accent is so good, I had no idea who she was at first!). Jamie Bell was breathtaking as Bernie Taupin, and Gemma Jones lovely as Elton’s grandma, (the only champion he had as a child). The film’s focus was on Elton’s childhood as a musical genius (Elton was played as a boy by Matthew Illesley, brilliantly), his growing up and becoming a star, up until the time he went to rehab and completely changed his life. It is a cautionary tale. Betrayal, sycophants, and hangers-on abound. It’s not a story for the weak. Drugs and drink can lead to sordid situations, and as Elton headed for rock bottom, it wasn’t pretty.
Rocketman is also a film about friendship. The amazing, loving, accepting friendship of Bernie Taupin and Reg Dwight (who became Elton John), through the years of finding each other while still living with their mothers, securing a manager, the first hits, the evils of stardom, getting to Hollywood (and the mythic Troubadour Club and Tower Records!), and beyond. It’s a tale of redemption, love conquering all (after great struggle), being grateful for what you have, understanding who you are, identifying what’s important, and rising above. I loved it.
I also LOVE the way the film is presented. Part musical, it just takes you into the songs, helps you understand the origin stories (I’m a sucker for that!). Taron’s performance as Elton blew me away. I actually forgot he wasn’t the original. That is a real performance! I loved everything about this film despite the fact that there were many parts that were hard to watch – it’s hard to see a person go through so much pain. It really made me understand what led Elton to being the amazing humanitarian he is today. Suffering can you take you one way or the other. I’m so happy he chose the path of helping others, inspired, in part, by his own experience. The end of the film celebrates the “new” Elton – the healed man. In a series of still pictures, it highlights the changes (for the better) he made to his life and how those changes brought him joy and proper love, and how he shared the love he found. I heartily recommend this film experience!
Monday on the blog… we’ll talk about autumn decor! Until then, my friends! Have a great weekend (maybe see a movie?)