Monday, June 24, 2019


The structure of Dexter Fletcher’s Rocketman, Elton John’s biopic, which the singer himself played a role in producing, is that of a recollection as told to fellow patients at a rehab. It’s not a tremendously inventive conceit, but useful if you’re trying to create a hagiography—which is what the film unabashedly is. Here's an example of the kind of homily Rocketman is rife with: "you've got to kill the person you order to become the person you want to be." Landing in the circle of chairs, John (Taron Egerton), in one of his outlandish costumes, is the alien come to earth. In case you didn't guess, the idea is that he’s always been different and hence misunderstood by the father (Steven Mackintosh) who never wanted him, by his selfish mother (Bryce Dallas Howard) and by his lover (Richard Madden), who uses him. It’s as much a lopsided picture as it is a recipe for addiction. One might conclude that the very narrative of the film is alcoholic. However, we do learn as the film rolls its final credits that John has 28 years of sobriety and is now in a same sex marriage where he’s the proud father of two boys.

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