★★★ | by Emma Levett
Posted on Jun 20, 2021
After completing his studies, Reginald begins to perform rock music at local pubs. Later, he meets John Reid, a music manager, who helps him rise to fame, but also creates chaos in his life.
This was an odd film for me. It starts with an extravagantly dressed Elton John (Taron Egerton) storming into a rehab center citing all his addictions, to silence. The scenes in the rehab center were both dark, tense, and had you gripped in a good way. The story elapses with tales of lost love, unaffectionate family abandonment, alcohol, and drugs (a LOT of drugs). The first half of the film was wonderful and a special take on a musical/bio. But it drifted into a drab sad story. I was looking for more depth and although the film clearly highlights the root cause of the issues Elton had, it just seemed like, towards the end, he played the victim. I felt like you never really get to see the real Elton.
The real achievement of the whole thing was the acting of Taron Egerton, whose singing was absolutely spot on at times. Not knowing Elton John personally (If I did then this obviously would have got 5 stars… and possibly a few cringe-worthy comments) I did feel like the acting was maybe… dare I say it… over the top. Saying this, I felt myself being wowed by the authenticity that Taron brought to the role. Another keynote was the character of Bernie Taupin (Jamie Bell) who gave a humble ingredient to Elton’s life. Elton clearly adored him and made that very clear in the movie. On the flip side, the villain John Reid (Richard Madden) gave a wonderful performance of manipulation and must be widely known as a real-life ‘bad guy’ in the music industry having an undesirable mention in the film Bohemian Rhapsody.
Overall I did enjoy this film, but only because I’m a fan of both musicals and Elton John’s music. Those who don’t like musicals or Elton John, stay well clear as the film doesn’t provide enough depth or character on a dramatic level for me.
“You just need to remember who you are and be okay with it”Bernie Taupin