The most important thing you need to know about Rocketman is it's not a factual biopic of Elton John going from boy to superstar. Instead, it's a ready-made musical, a fantasy interpretation inspired by his flamboyance and over-the-top style.

If that sounds agreeable, you're going to have a blast.

Director Dexter Fletcher - who rescued Bohemian Rhapsody after that film's original director Bryan Singer was fired - should be applauded for taking a creative and bold approach to Rocketman.

Audiences levitating, hallucinatory scenes at the bottom of a pool as Elton attempts suicide, 20 songs, often arranged differently, actor Taron Egerton as Elton doing all the singing - these are all risky, but are pulled off with some style.


The film begins 28 years ago when Elton decides to get sober. Arriving at a rehab clinic, dressed as some mix of a phoenix and a devil, he's desperate to get to the bottom of his addiction and misery. The answer, it turns out, goes back to his messy childhood and family.

With a father (Steven Mackintosh) who refuses to hug him and a mother (Bryce Dallas Howard) who makes him feel worthless, Elton was destined to suffer insecurities. These are unlikely to be all that's responsible for his drug and alcohol abuse, but it's a tidy answer for a film like this. (Hopefully Elton fans will learn a little more in his autobiography, due out this year.)

Rocketman is also a cautionary tale of overnight success. After teaming up with lyricist Bernie Taupin (Bell), who could write lyrics as fast as Elton could set them to music, success came quickly - in the UK, the US and worldwide.

There were plenty of people keen to benefit from this success, and Elton doesn't always surround himself with the best people. His volatile relationship with his ex-manager and lover John Reed is a case in point, with Bodyguard's Richard Madden putting in a strong performance a cruel taskmaster.

But what makes Rocketman magic is the music, and the way Elton's songs tell his story. Egerton fully commits to the role of Elton - it's the most charismatic I've seen him on screen – and, although sometimes he's a little karaoke, he is always emotional and dynamic.

If you're a fan of Elton John, you're unlikely to learn anything new but, like the man himself, Rocketman is about entertaining the crowd and on, that basis, he's delivered another hit.


Taron Egerton , Jamie Bell



Dexter Fletcher

Running Time:

121 mins


M (Sex scenes, offensive language and drug use)


Rocketman delivers stadium-sized fun