Behind the Screen: Rocketman

A record of Elton John’s life, ‘Rocketman’ is a musical fantasy depicted by producer Matthew Vaughn and director Dexter Fletcher, who was also behind the blockbuster success, ‘Bohemain Rhapsody”.

First off let us establish that by no means is the film meant to be a strict chronological recount of John’s life and work.

Prefereably the film goes beyond just showcasing the glitz and the glamour that comes along with being a globally renowned musician and rather deliberately chooses to detail the defining moments of John’s life, whose career spanned more than 50 years.

Rather than take the easy way out Taron Egerton, who plays Elton, spent up to 100 hours’ worth of fittings and provided his own vocals for the film rather than opting for John’s voiceover for the songs.

John actually encouraged Egerton to add his own flavour into the character, aiming to emulate and not recreate ‘Elton John’.

One of the keys we can take from the film is that it definitely wasn’t an easy road to achieve his dreams, which often seldom is.

For John, growing up his family didn’t always support his undeniable love for music particularly as his father imposed a rule that forbid John from making noise, therefore he had a rather unhappy childhood as he was unable to truly be himself.

But it was his grandmother, Ivy who is depicted in the film as being the sole sanguine adult force in his young life, encouraging his musical talent and brought him to audition at the Royal Music Academy.

Struggling to find his feet in the world of music as he played in pubs to weave his way into the industry as an established artist.

Perhaps what made him so resonant, was his unique song writing craft of taking the lyrics and crafting his songs and melodies around the lyrics.

The film does indeed pay tribute to the countless ‘well-known’ Elton anthems but also acknowledges his little-known earlier songs, including non-album tracks like ‘Rock and Roll Madonna’ (1970) and ‘Thank You For All Your Loving’ (1968).

Although he may have secured his feet firmly on the global music scene, John battled through drug addiction almost committing suicide and still had conflict surrounding hiding his sexuality and conflict.

But it’s really his honesty and savour for music that echoes well beyond the final credits.

A particularly resonant quote in the film sticks out, “you got to kill the person you were born to be, in order to become the person, you want to be”.

Throughout the film, it was music that was John’s sustenance in overcoming his addiction recovery and assisted him in regaining a path towards a more stable, lasting life and career.

Ultimately, at the end of the day if there’s one thing we can take from this film is that no matter how hard we may try to conceal it, love cannot be hidden.

Rocketman is screening in cinemas now, go grab your popcorn and check it out this weekend.

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