Yesterday I saw Rocketman, starring Taron Egerton and Bryce Dallas Howard.
I can see why Elton John gave this film his blessing. The ride through his life that covers the time between childhood and sobriety is tender, thrilling and above all, honest. A fitting tribute to such an interesting icon.
Young Elton is played by Matthew Illesly who bears such a strong resemblance to him, I want to see what he looks like in 40 years. We see Reggie (his given name) as a young piano prodigy, who's talent is celebrated by his grandmother (Gemma Jones) and merely tolerated by his mother (Bryce Dallas Howard). He has an inherent enthusiasm for music and thankfully follows his instinct to pursue it despite his dysfunctional family life.
His instructors immediately recognize his gift, and as he grows older (and is then played by Kit Connor), it's clear this will be how his life plays out.
By the time we reach adult Elton (Taron Egerton), we know he's gay and that he's found a lifetime friend and creative partner in Bernie Taupin (Jamie Bell). The road to success was paved with drama and pain and joy and hard work and as a result of all of it, an addiction has has taken over his spirit.
The film is shown in flashbacks from his point of view at a rehabilitation meeting and structured in a traditional musical sense: The characters break into song frequently in the middle of otherwise linear scenes and sometimes recreate classic performances or videos.
At first, I found the format jarring, but as the film went on and I grew to expect it, I liked it. What was especially fun was seeing photos from the real situations in comparison to the film reenactments at the end. It makes me sorry I only had the privilege of seeing Elton live twice in my lifetime.
All in all, it's a very satisfying, enjoyable look at the remarkable life of a musical genius.