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Read: Rocketman is a stunning fantasy film

If you asked me who is my favourite recording artist of all time, I’d struggle to answer. That’s because it’s a toss-up between Diana Ross and Elton John – Diana has glamour and a voice that can take a song with an upbeat melody and make it sad and soulful (think I’m Living In Shame). 

But Elton…. boy oh boy his music moves me. Take Your Song, which has to be the most wonderful pop ballad ever written. Just look at the lyrics:

I hope you don’t mind if I put down in words, how wonderful life is while you’re in the world.

So simple, yet exquisitely profound. 

The words were written, of course, by his life long collaborator Bernie Taupin, and they are beautiful, but when combined with John’s music they become a sublime expression of love.

This magical melding of talents has produced a monumental body of work that spans forty years and has captured the soul of more than one generation. 

So what of the man behind all of this?  How do we find out what he’s really like given the fame and the hype?  Even his name – Elton John – is a conceit designed to rid himself of the past and the family life that hurt him so badly. 

Well, the film Rocketman is John’s attempt to show us who he is, and it does so convincingly and with incredible flair. 

What we discover about Elton John is that despite the reinvention and the fame and the money he couldn’t truly bury his past. The damaged young boy named Reginald Dwight still lurked under the surface and he created a lot of ugly conflict and drama that affected John’s personal and professional life for decades. 

This is the greatness of Rocketman – it doesn’t attempt to hide that side of John’s life. Hell it almost fetishises it. His addictions, his tantrums and even his attempted suicide are central to the story. Together with the stylish and fantastical depictions of his concerts we see a hyper artistic view of John’s life that is raw, honest and beautiful.

It’s also very sympathetic to him. You cannot help liking him even more after watching this film. This is partly because he’s so damn talented, and his genius outshines his obvious flaws. But it also shows a simple shy and profoundly emotional man who has a deep seated (and often unrequited) need to be loved. Who can’t relate to that?

The other reason this film is so good is Tarun Egerton. He simply is Elton John. It would not surprise me if Egerton’s name is on all ‘best actor’ lists next award season. 

Rocketman is quite simply a brilliant tribute to the human being at the centre of the legendary superstar Elton John. 

ROCKETMAN 

In cinemas 30 May 2019

120 minutes

Starring – Taron Egerton, Jamie Bell, Richard Madden, Bryce Dallas Howard 

Director – Dexter Fletcher

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