John Hensler’s review published on Letterboxd:
Very enjoyable, and first and foremost this is a true musical, complete with other characters joining in song and the occasional impromptu dance sequence, as opposed to a stock drama that has songs.
Taron Egerton is spectacular here, confidently creating a version of Elton John that feels familiar, yet manages to mine some unexpected insights into the man. Blessedly R rated, few punches are pulled, with plenty of warts exposed and frank-enough sexuality.
One of my criticisms of the film is that I got a little impatient in the third act waiting for John to hit rock bottom, but hey, it’s his life, so I guess I can’t be too strident with that angle. At any rate, the movie felt a bit long for me.
Jamie Bell and Richard Madden offer some quality supporting work; in the role of EJ’s mom, I couldn’t determine if Bryce Dallas Howard was simply lousy or just saddled with a rather challenging and thankless role to play.
There were a few quibbles with the chronology of the songs in the film; tons of dramatic license seem to have been taken in that respect. Some of that can be excused by the fantasy aspect of the film, but not all of it.
And of course, with Elton’s deep songbook there are many memorable tunes that didn’t make the cut for the movie. Can’t please everyone.
Fortunately, the songs that are featured are creatively staged and lavishly produced. Egerton’s fantastic performance extends to his impression of Elton’s musical style; it’s a compelling job. EJ himself has every right to feel proud about Rocketman.