Jack’s review published on Letterboxd:
To be quite honest, I wasn't really excited for this film even being a big fan of Elton. I expected a traditional biopic that follows the tiring formula of all the films in the genre. And of course Rocketman has those genre conventions, but the way it’s executed brings something new to the table for me. I hate to mention this film, but Bohemian Rhapsody never captured the essence of Freddie, but with this film it completely encaptures everything that makes Elton… Elton. It’s a heartbreaking portrait of a confused, damaged man that also has these beautifully executed fantastical sequences that truly brings you into the mind of Elton, giving life to his deepest fantasies. It doesn’t stray away from the dark areas of Elton’s life, never holding back and showing you everything that is relevant to properly tell his story. Rocketman actually focuses quite a bit on a very relatable family dynamic with moments that nearly brought me to tears. I too struggle with embracing my true self in fear of never being accepted by my family & friends, and to see a mainstream film tackle such issues is very inspiring. And because of how deep the film is able to explore, we get a truly special performance from Taron Egerton. He oozes passion within every frame and is able to balance so many different elements that are thrown at him without seeming too over the top. I didn’t think Taron was capable of pulling off a role of this caliber, but he did, and it was magical to watch. Dexter Fletcher aids Taron’s performance by giving him freedom in the role, freedom to embrace the essence of Elton. Fletcher also brilliantly blends fantasy musical elements and emotion where it somehow never feels jarring when it cuts between the two. The film wouldn’t have worked if it weren’t for Fletcher's obvious admiration for Elton and his life story, so thanks to him we have an actual authentic portrayal of Elton’s life. This is a very brave studio film and is unlike anything of its genre. I’m so down for more music biopics if they’re able to follow the trend Rocketman will set: embrace the strange, embrace the beauty, embrace the things that make that figure unique in this world. As a result, you’ll get a film that’s meaningful to the world--a film that’s worthy of telling someone’s life story.
“Don’t you know I’m still standing better than I ever did. Looking like a true survivor, feeling like a little kid. I’m still standing after all this time. Picking up the pieces of my life without you on my mind.”