Rocketman

Rocketman

I am an Elton superfan and know every word to every song he recorded through about 2001 / Songs from the West Coast. I would obsessively listen to certain moments of his records (yes, records) from the college library listening booth. I sent him an eleven page hand-written letter when I was about twenty years old, care of his record company, which I'm sure is lost to time and the garbage heap.

All that is to say, this movie had a tough job when it came to me as an audience member. I'm not *quite* satisfied, but at the same time this did so many things right. A formula biopic would not be right for Elton. I wasn't sure about the non-chronological use of songs and fantastical elements but then I decided yes, this is correct. Taron Egerton is SPOOKILY transformed here and I know because when I met my husband, he had this poster hanging over his bed and I got lots of chances to see it: www.leadpipeposters.com/images/0323.jpg

But it's not just a physical transformation that Egerton pulls off. He really embodies the emotion, the insecurity, the volatility, the presence I imagine young Elton had. Great use of close ups to capture that, and more lingering looks than fast cuts. At first I was a little disappointed there weren't super-banger concert scenes but the choice made sense. Scenes like that might lead the viewer to think that's how Elton experienced them, when it seems like the point is by the time he was playing stadiums, he didn't really experience them, and this is a movie with a tight point of view.

My favorite thing about this is the friendship that Bernie and Elton seem to genuinely share in real life. Most movies save the "I love yous" between friends--especially male friends--for one climactic moment. Here we get several and they each play honest.

I really wanted them to use "We All Fall In Love Sometimes" when Bernie and Elton first meet, but alas, youngsters and new fans will have to go find it on Spotify.

I'm eager to see this again while it's still in theaters.

[edited to add: OH MY GOD THAT WAS TATE DONOVAN]

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