Warning: This article contains spoilers.
Rocketman isn't a straight biopic, no one is pretending that it is.
Director Dexter Fletcher, among others, has described it as a fantasy musical, a memory, and not an autobiography of Elton John.
Which means not everything the movie says went down actually happened, or in that order. Memory is fallible — more often than not, it's the feeling we remember and not the details of the event itself.
To that end, it's only expected that Rocketman isn't factually accurate. For one thing, the chronology of Elton John's songs is totally mixed up, incorporated throughout the movie to match emotional beats than historical touchpoints.
SPOILERS AHEAD FOR ROCKETMAN
For example, the movie ends with John learning to accept himself and sobriety, which happened in around 1990. Directly afterwards, Rocketman plays the video clip to I'm Still Standing, with Taron Edgerton spliced into the original video.
I'm Still Standing was actually released in 1983, years before the movie's end date, and, ironically, John was pretty sloshed during the filming of the video, according to an anecdote from Duran Duran's Simon Le Bon.
But any movie about a real person stirs a viewer's curiosity about the differences between what they just watched and real life.
Rocketman version: Elton John and John Reid met at Mama Cass' after-party following his triumphant debut at the Troubadour. The pair became sexually, romantically and professionally entwined, leading to John splitting from his other management at the time.
At some point, their relationship soured — Reid physically slapped John — but the professional relationship continued with Reid boasting that he'll still be collecting his "20 per cent long after you've died".
Real life: Elton John and John Reid actually met at a Christmas party thrown by Motown Records in London. Soon after, John became Reid's first client.
John and Reid lived together and were in a personal relationship from 1970 to 1975 with the first home together a flat above a supermarket on Edgeware Road in London.
As for that sex scene in Rocketman between Egerton and Madden, John told The Mirror: "If I am telling my story, it has to be honest. I was a virgin until then. I was desperate to be loved and desperate to have a tactile relationship.
"When they tear their clothes off in the movie, that was how it happened. It was in San Francisco."
According to the Scottish Daily Mail, Reid had said of that time in their lives: "I remember this hip, shy young man. There was a gawky sweetness about him.
"He was my first great love and I was his. I went on to become his manager for 25 years."
John reportedly gave Reid a yacht for his 25th birthday and Reid reciprocated the following year with a huge emerald ring.
Reid, who has been described as "sometimes difficult" and a "bon vivant" by The Independent, blamed their split on John needing to go off and play the field.
"He said he wanted a bigger house and the split happened. There were no dramas."
John obviously saw it differently, given Madden's portrayal of Reid as callous and cold. Similarly, Reid, as played by Aiden Gillen, didn't come off very well in Bohemian Rhapsody either.
In 1974, Reid was arrested in New Zealand and sentenced to a month in jail for assaulting a journalist. He said he did so to defend John's honour.
After their breakup, Reid and John continued to work together professionally until 1998, when Benjamin Pell, a self-professed John fan, hacked into Reid's business computers and went through his offices' bins, leaking to the press confidential financial information about John's profligate spending.
As revealed later in court during John's legal case against Reid, according to the BBC, the incident created a chasm between the men. Reid said John was "incandescent with rage" at the thought Reid or someone in Reid's team had leaked the details.
Reid paid John £3.4 million ($AU6.1 million) in damages. His company made £73 million ($AU133 million) from representing John between 1970 and 1998. They severed all ties in 1998 and Reid retired from music management the following year.
In 2005, he was a judge on Australia's The X-Factor. Some reports put him still residing here while others say he's back in London.
HIS RELATIONSHIP WITH HIS FATHER
Rocketman version: In the film, Elton had a tense relationship with his parents, especially his father, Stanley, who was absent and cold. Stanley leaves his family and is later seen being affectionate to his next two sons, Elton's half-brothers.
Real life: According to an unauthorised biography of John by Elizabeth Rosenthal, the Dwights constantly argued when Elton was a child, and Stanley and Sheila divorced when Elton was 14 years old.
John wrote in The Timesthat his father never came to see him play. He wrote: "A tough and unemotional man. Hard. In the RAF. He was dismissive, disappointed and finally absent. I just wanted him to acknowledge what I'd done. But he never did."
John even wrote that he felt it wasn't that his father couldn't relate to children in general, it was that his father couldn't relate to him.
"He left us, remarried and had another family, and by all accounts was a great dad to them. It wasn't children. It was me."
John speculated that homophobia and prejudice may have had a hand in his father's rejection of him.
Typical in family dramas, Stanley's second family disputes that their dad was a hard man.
John's stepmother Edna, who married Stanley after his divorce from Sheila, told the Daily Mail in 2015, "I don't know why he is saying these things, they are just not true."
Edna has also said that Stanley missed Elton and kept a photo of him by the bed. She added: "Elton has said he felt rejected, but I think Stan was the one who felt rejected."
John's half-brothers — and there are four of them — have said over the years that John occasionally visited when his career was global, recalling one Sunday lunch when he turned up a Rolls-Royce, played football in the garden and played Crocodile Rock on the piano.
Half-brother Geoff, who is estranged from John, claimed John was frequently around during their childhoods, visiting "every other weekend".
Stanley was plagued by health issues late in life, suffering a heart attack, losing sight in one eye, and undergoing a quadruple bypass. He died in 1991. John said he made peace with his father before Stanley's death, but Edna also disputed that.
HIS RELATIONSHIP WITH HIS MOTHER
Rocketman version: His mother Sheila is portrayed as someone who didn't always do right by her son — unable to give him the unconditional love he craved. The most gut-wrenching scene is when he comes out to her over the phone and she shuts him down, saying he'll never be loved.
Real life: From most accounts, John's relationship with his mother has been more constant throughout his life, and his stepfather Fred Farebrother was indeed the nice and supportive man Rocketman portrays him to be.
Bryce Dallas Howard, who plays Sheila in Rocketman, told Cosmopolitan UKshe talked to people not associated with the movie to understand what her real-life counterpart was like.
"She was very charismatic, wickedly brilliantly hilarious and cutting also, took all of their air out of the room, she sucked it out and it was this thing where she had a personality that could be fun in certain circumstances but then it would turn."
Howard also told the Hollywood Reporter her view was that John and his mother had a "dysfunctional, toxic relationship".
Neither John nor Sheila spoke about the earlier years but the two had a spectacularly public falling out in the decade before her death.
In 2008, John cut off ties with his long-time personal assistant Bob Halley and his manager John Reid, at which point he demanded his mother also severed her connections to them. She refused.
She told the Daily Mail in 2015: "I told him 'I'm not about to do that and drop them. Bob is like a son to me. He has always been marvellous to me."
In the same fawning, one-sided Daily Mail interview, Sheila said John flew into a rage and told his mother he hated her.
At the heart of what turned into an eight-year estrangement seemed to be David Furnish, John's now-husband. Sheila said she told John, "and you think more of that f***ing thing you married than your own mother," referring to Furnish.
After her 90th birthday, John reached out to his mother. He sent a large bouquet of white orchids to her party, the same party at which she hired an Elton John impersonator.
John confirmed not long after that, "We are now back in touch". He declined to comment further at the time.
When Sheila died in 2017, she left half her fortune to Bob Halley, while John, who to be fair doesn't need money, was bequeathed two urns and family photographs.
Rocketman version: Elton John's marriage to Renate Blauel is given short shrift in Rocketman, and according to director Dexter Fletcher, wasn't even originally in the script.
In a short sequence, John meets Blauel in a recording studio while recording the 1979 album Victim of Love, and then they are married. They're shown as sleeping in separate bedrooms and silently eating breakfast while she looks terribly sad.
Real life: Elton John actually met Renate Blauel, a German sound engineer, during the recording of his 1982 album Too Low for Zero.
During the 1980s, John was at the height of his substance abuse. David Motion, an assistant sound engineer at the time, recalled that the singer was not a good place at the time. "There was quite a bit of cocaine," he said. "As far as I could tell, it was pretty much all for him."
John had come out as bisexual in 1976 to Rolling Stone, but close friends and fans were shocked when he decided to marry a woman. Rod Stewart reportedly sent a telegram saying, "You may still be standing, but we're all on the f***ing floor."
In 1984, while on tour in Australia, John proposed to Blauel over an Indian dinner. Three days later, the two threw a lavish wedding in Sydney's Darling Point at St Mark's church. It was Valentine's Day.
Gary Clarke, a young Melburnian who claimed to be one of John's lovers, said he and the star had a threesome with a third man two nights before John proposed to Blauel, reported The Australian in 2008.
The Australian also reported that John said later on: "A drug addict thinks like this, 'I've had enough boyfriends, and that's not made me happy, so I'll have a wife — that will change everything'."
Among the guests at the wedding were Olivia Newton-John, John McEnroe, Barry Humphries and John Reid, who served as best man.
According to tour manager Harley Medcalf, as reported by Elle, the wedding reception was a veritable feast, boasting oysters, lobster, prawns, scallops, salmon, lamb, crab, venison, veal, quail, chicken, pork, turkey, ham and trout.
During their four-year marriage, there were rumours John continued to see men, reported Page Six. He was also frequently away on tour.
The divorce came through in November 1988 and Blauel moved into a cottage in Surrey, England. He came out as gay in the same year.
John met his now-husband David Furnish in 1993.
In 2017, during the Australian marriage equality plebiscite, John referred to his union with Blauel on Instagram.
He wrote: "Many years ago, I chose Australia for my wedding to a wonderful woman for whom I have so much love and admiration. I wanted more than anything to be a good husband, but I denied who I really was, which caused my wife sadness, and caused me huge guilt and regret."
Rocketman is in cinemas now.