ROCKETMAN Review – You Can Tell Everybody, This is Your Film

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Rocketman review — They’ll never kill the thrills we got… from all that Elton John gave us.

Rocketman reviewThe year was 1975, and the place was Dodger Stadium. Emmylou Harris and Joe Walsh were the warm up acts for none other than Elton John, who was decked out in a sequined Dodger uniform. I’ll never forget it—even though I was, ahem, very young. It still stands out as one of the absolute best concerts I’ve ever attended.

There never has been and never will be anyone like Elton John, and this film, which has his full endorsement, makes us all aware of that. His mercurial rise is uncanny, and Rocketman does him and his music justice. It’s described as a “musical fantasy,” which is  quite accurate—so was he.

The spectacle of it—the costumes, the big musical numbers, the glitz, glitter and camp, are reason enough to see this fantastical film about the man who has any number of singles on the soundtracks of our lives.

Yes, Taron Egerton lives up to the hype. His singing, acting, and swanning about in feathers and sequins, are exceptional. The supporting cast including Bryce Dallas Howard, Jamie Bell and Richard Madden is also aces.

In addition, major kudos go to director Dexter Fletcher, who last year stepped in for Bryan Singer and adroitly picked up the reins on Bohemian Rhapsody. He is able to incline us to overlook the fact that this is your basic, oft told tale of an artist who pulls himself up by the bedazzled bootstraps, becomes a huge star, succumbs to the intoxication of drugs and his own glamor, hits bottom, and then redeems himself.

Oh, and don’t they all have daddy issues? Reggie Dwight also had Mommy issues, it seems, and Dallas Howard does a surprisingly fine job of playing his ice cold, self involved mummy.

Because of its many other virtues, Rocketman can be forgiven for using that worn out, used up device of telling a tale via flashbacks at a substance abuse group counseling meeting. You can’t even look at a screen these days without seeing someone sitting in a circle confessing, then having a personal revelation because of it. Think about it. Didn’t Elton John’s creative arc deserve a more original vehicle?

Still, his incomparable music is such a seminal part of so many of our lives, it somehow feels that a film that honors him and his memories also honors ours. That alone is reason to see it.

Rated R

2 Hours 2 Minute

If this Rocketman review inspires you to run out and see it, get times and tickets first at Fandango.com.

Rocketman review — They’ll never kill the thrills we got… from all that Elton John gave us.


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Lisa Johnson Mandell

Lisa Johnson Mandell

Lisa Johnson Mandell is an award winning journalist, author and film/TV critic. She can be heard regularly on Cumulus radio stations throughout the US, and on BBC Radio.

1 Comment

  1. Avatar Lee on May 30, 2019 at 8:50 am

    It wasn’t an AA meeting. It was inpatient rehab when he was 43. His problems were too severe for merely AA meetings.

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