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Inside Out 2019: “Rocketman” (2019) ★★★★★


© Paramount Pictures

Many times I’ve heard people say with envy, “How cool is it to be famous!”, or, “I want people to recognize me on the street.” The problem is, all these people do not realize the price of being an entertainer, whether that entertainer is a musician, writer, actor, producer or director. It’s a hell of a difficult job to do every time when you go out to find staring eyes looking at something they assume as a God/Goddess, knowing little that the same God/Goddess has to go through daily life struggles to please the eyes of those who will never really appreciate the enormous effort required to be on stage.

“Rocketman” follows the life of musical icon Elton John, his love for music, the time when he entered the Royal Academy of Music, met his long-time friend, songwriter Bernie, John Reid, his relationship with his parents, constant abuse, and his battle with himself and his sexuality, alcohol, and drugs. All these are told in flashbacks in the form of a narrative with Elton John paying an unexpected visit to an alcoholic anonymous meeting, where he leads them through his life.

There was no better way to begin the film the way “Rocketman” started. The music element, Elton John’s music performed by his own self as a little boy. He clearly sets the facts straight: “I am Elton John. I am an alcoholic, a drug addict, have issues with anger management. But I am here to become better.” That process begins with him as a child wishing his father would hug him the same way he would hug and even love his younger sons decades later when he remarries another woman. His mother, on the other hand, seems to understand her son, helps him with his passion, but is not always there to give him a hand when John needs it.

When he meets Bernie Taupin, their affection for each other was instantaneous. They begin treating each other as if they were brothers. Even though Elton John, at times, had feelings for his friend, he quickly recovered from it, realizing how fortunate he was to meet a friend with whom he would never have an argument even decades later. As we listen to one beloved hit after another, we see how Elton John rises to fame, travels to the USA where he meets John Reid with whom he begins a romantic relationship. Through that time, it was those dark moments that brings John to his knee; the abuse of alcohol and drugs would never end until the moment when he realizes – enough is enough.

“Rocketman”, directed by Dexter Fletcher, is not just a random biopic you will forget a minute later. In fact, you will want even more after it ends. The film serves as a meeting of anonymous alcoholics or people who suffer from drug addiction to set a path for recovery. Through the chosen narrative, the film indeed turns into a great medicine that helps combine all the elements together – craziness of a lifestyle, musical industry, fame, sex, addiction and the light at the end of the tunnel that always waits for the one who is willing to escape the trap called illusion and fantasy.

As for the performance, Jamie Bell’s Bernie Taupin was amazing, Bryce Dallas Howard as Sheila Ellen (Elton John’s mother) was impressive, Richard Madden as John Reid was shockingly good while Taron Egerton is the one who leads the show. He is not only versatile but is such a multi-talented actor that only a few like him walk on the same planet. Whether it’s his singing ability, dancing or performing, there is not even a bit of fault to blame him for anything. He gave an honest, refreshing and well-deserving portrayal of an icon you would want only Egerton to portray.

Through his performance, you could feel Elton John’s depression, desire to give up on himself, yet giving himself another chance. This film is almost a love story of failure and success, being broken internally and being repaired afterward. It’s about finding yourself in a place where he did not know he could be – all that he wanted which every human being does is to be really loved. That and many other reasons will most certainly bring you to the theater to see the most important biopic on how to meet the normality of feelings in a world that does not acknowledge that. Because, if to put it simply – it’s a beautiful film that was born with only one reason – to become immortal, which it has really succeeded at.

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