What is it with the nostalgia for old rock stars? Freddy Mercury in ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, the Beatles in ‘Yesterday”, Michael Hutchence, a new Bruce Springsteen movie coming out… and ‘Rocketman’. I know that there’s a deliberate targetting of baby-boomer filmgoers who actually pay to sit on a cinema seat, but …I don’t know…there’s something a bit moth-ball-y and retirement village-y about all these excursions into the past. I personally mightn’t enjoy it and wouldn’t pay to see it, but are current musicians not worthy of celebration? Was the only good music written and performed between 1964 and 1994?
This was far more like a musical than I imagined it would be, and the songs are used to advance the story, rather than a strict chronological discography. I hadn’t realized how closely the lives of Elton John and Bernie Taupin were intertwined, but it seems strange to use the lyrics (which Taupin wrote) as a narrative skeleton for a telling of Elton John’s life. As someone once said: how odd that Elton John should sing for about forty years without ever singing his own words. And I felt just a bit ambivalent about the idea of a very wealthy rock star writing and funding his own lavish autobiographical film (yes- I know, I’m inconsistent because I read autobiographies). Hence, his prattishness was made to seem reasonable, or at least understandable, and there’s quite a bit of special pleading going on here.
That said, I did enjoy it, and hearing all those old songs from my adolescence and early adulthood again. I also enjoyed watching YouTube videos of Elton John and Taron Egerton singing together, with Elton beaming away like a stage mother in her dressing gown.
My rating: 3.5 stars.