I want to start this post by saying that the friendship between Elton John and Eminem makes sense after seeing Elton’s life. We did not get it at the time but broken people recognize broken people and they needed each other.
We start the movie with Elton John in a loud devil costume flinging double doors open and marching down a long hallway. We find that he’s dressed up to be….in therapy. We’ll talk about the costume a little later.
Reginald Dwight was just a nice English boy who was just minding his business, playing the piano, asking for hugs and wearing glasses, but his family didn’t want him to be great. His family, besides grandma, was a MESS. Dad didn’t really understand his son or didn’t really want to understand him and his mother was over her marriage. She always seemed a bit restless. He grows up and makes his way into the music industry, and it’s the 70’s, so problems ensue which leads us to therapy. Let’s talk about what I liked and what I could have used less of.
The biopic is categorized, by Reggie, (because that is his name) as a musical and I hate musicals. I tolerate them but I avoid them if I can. I forget that when I started watching it and was really sad when they started singing out of the blue. The point was not to do a biopic in the traditional sense but to get the essence of who Reggie was and how and why he became Elton John, for better or worse. Personally, I could have done without the random sequences of song but they were good songs with great choreography. Not what I came for though. I came to understand what happened to Reginald Dwight. Who hurt him which I got but it took a minute to get there. Just me.
I was surprised by a couple things. I was surprised to find out that he has an impeccable ear for music. The scene where he plays the piano for the lady, he stops and she asks why he stopped and he responds, “That’s how far you got” was astonishing. Never knew that about him. I figured his mother knew he was gay. Honestly, how did we not think he was gay. Those costumes were LOUD. Was it a shock when he came out? I would imagine not but someone let me know.
I was also shocked to know that he went to find his dad and not the other way around. I have a theory, and hear me out. I think his father knew Reggie was different in more ways than one, and because he was more of a straight laced type of dude, he was never really going to accept him and love him like he needed to be. His younger sons seemed more normal and that’s what he could handle. He could not handle a talent like Reggie and I’m sure he sensed his son was gay which didn’t help the situation.
Question: Did anyone in the 70’s have a normal life without cocaine, alcohol and abuse? Anyone?! All the greatest talents have had the same demons and it is sad to watch. To watch him be used by that record exec, and to then watch him slip further and further into death was tough to watch but familiar, if that makes sense. I liken it to Tina Turner. She worked so hard, never had a break and was working under a tyrant. Ever scene you could see the life dim in her eyes. Same with Reggie. He went from enjoying playing the piano and making music to just doing it for profit and the benefit of everyone else. I do want to shoutout his best friend and writing partner. He was the real MVP. I don’t know how many friendships could survive what was doing on with those two. The scene where he yelled at him, in front of everyone, in that hallway before he went on would have set me off. He would not have made it to perform. We would have to fight because who are you yellibg at! I enjoy that they showed that before he went on he apologized and he accepted. That’s a solid friendship to understand the pressure and exhaustion of your friend and to still be there.
I found Rocketman On Demand, for the free, but it is also on Amazon Prime and YouTube for a fee. Taron Egerton and Bryce Dallas Howard, y’all are the real MVPs. They were AMAZING. I felt for Reggie and I hated Shelia, his momma, who side note, was way out of line telling him how hard and disappointing it was to be his momma. Think about when you were out there being loose, ma’am! I’m sure some town people knew and he had to go to school with those kids. Rude!
Go watch Rocketman, if you haven’t already. Beautiful story, costumes and acting but beware. They sing at the drop of a hat.