This is not a movie about a rock star with their music simply part of the facts of the story. It is a musical in the truest sense, that uses his own music to show his tribulations through the eyes of a man during the troubled years of his life. The movie is not always chronological and in some cases is more figurative than historical. In this way it can convey Sir Elton John's life and struggles in a way that the viewer may understand on a more personal level. The acting, writing and singing are superb.
The star did not try to truly imitate Elton but instead preforned the pieces in his own style that he molded as closely as possible to the original. It sounds odd, but it works.
As always you can never sum up any life, book or story in a 2 or so hour movie, but this comes close. You leave feeling like you really got to know the real, yet flawed, human Elton John. Overall a wonderful movie.
He was AMAZING in the spirit of an fabulous Elton John biopic musical.... and Jamie Bell was awesome.. as usual!
It's going to get very mixed reviews. I predict many will love it, and many will revile it. I was caught somewhere in the middle. Without giving any actual spoilers away, consider this:1. If you absolutely HATE musicals, save your money. This is the John/Taupin equivalent of a Rodgers & Hammerstein. It is not presented as a straightforward biopic in the same manner as BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY.
2. Much as I love Elton John, this "rock & roll fantasy" of his life treads a little too far into campy territory for me, with 2, maybe 3 very (thankfully) brief moments in the film that can only be described as cringeworthy. ("Oh, come on, guys--seriously?" moments.) There were times when I genuinely felt this was going to end up as the Ken Russell version of TOMMY for the new millennium.
3. Never, at any point in the film, is Paul Buckmaster mentioned or acknowledged. This infuriated me! For those who don't already know: in the early days of EJ's career, Paul was the orchestrator who provided EJ with the BEAUTIFUL, lush string accompaniments that added so much to EJ's early music (classic example: EJ's soundtrack to the 1971 French film, FRIENDS) and, IMHO, could have been a big player in his success as a burgeoning artist, firmly introducing/establishing The Elton John "Sound." He SHOULD have been a part of this film--even a small one, if deemed necessary--but for him to be utterly omitted from the story mystifies me. Maybe someone in the know can enlighten me on this.These 3 things, however, are about my only problems with the film. Credit must be given where it's due:1. Taron Egerton is actually pretty amazing. Some might see his acting as occasionally over the top, but frankly and for all we know, maybe EJ really did act that "extremely" at times, considering his anger issues. His singing, most of the time, is virtually spot-on, catching EJ's lilting singing style quite well.
2. The supporting cast:
Jamie Bell (Bernie Taupin), Bryce Dallas Howard , Richard Madden (EJ's agent & self-centered 1st lover), Stephen Graham (Dick James), Tate Donovan (L.A.'s Troubador Club manager Doug Weston), Gemma Jones (Ivy, EJ's grandmother, I think...? Or friend of the family?) & Steven Mackintosh (EJ's cold, uncaring father)...and all others in the film, essentially faultless. ESPECIALLY Jamie's portrayal of Bernie. Wow.
3. You can't really find fault with the staging and choreography of the musical numbers. Very professionally done.
4. You will learn many things about EJ's life in this film that you may not have known before...I know I did.
5. Have a few Kleenexes handy. Enough said.
6. Don't leave right away after the credits roll.So, is it worth seeing? My criticisms aside (and we all know what they say about opinions), it really comes down to this: if you're a fan--and especially a DEDICATED fan, like me, who's followed him from his humble beginnings in America in the summer of 1970--go see it. Decide for yourself if my gripes hold any water.
I have been waiting for weeks to the premier and Taron's performance blowed me away. I can't tell it was going for a movie about Elton John or going to a premier of a concert where Taron singing and performing and telling his life story from the screen (or from the stage cause it's a premier). His voice is precious, is emotional and is skillful. He got that powerful voice yet that soulful and soft that I am sure that he is the right person, the PERFECT person for those songs and for this film. Such a perfect actor, with a gifted voice.
His acting was outstanding and his eyes told things. I can felt his thoughts and feelings, his sadness, disapointment, his emptyness. Just, breathtaking.
And Jamie Bell did great, Richard Madden also, such a wonderful compilation of these three talented and professional actors.
Love their charisma and their chemistry together. Thank you very much for a great movie. Really enjoyed it.
I've been an Elton John fan most of my life. My love for the music of Elton and Bernie literally shaped who I am. So I REALLY wanted to love this movie but I left the theater irritated and disappointed.My biggest gripes were:
1.) Some of the musical numbers were corny and out of character (e.g. young Elton dancing through the streets, acting tough and singing "Saturday". The young Elton John actors/singers were not very good either.
2.) The "fantasy" aspects and creative liberties taken to distort facts were annoying. For example, the scene at the Troubadour. It was corny having Elton and the audience flying but I get that the filmmakers wanted to communicate that the concert was a surreal, life changing evening for everyone there. What made me MAD is that he was playing Crocodile Rock! That was absurd. He and Bernie didn't even write that until '72. Plus, that song is NOT why people would have been blown away with him performance. It's a catchy little ditty that got great airplay but is not one of the songs that make Elton & Bernie great. The real set list for the Troubadour was songs like "Your Song", "Border Song", "Take Me to the Pilot", "Burn Down the Mission". That's the amazing stuff he played that night that rocked people's worlds. Not radio pop "Crocodile Rock". I don't see how any real Elton John can be happy with that gross distortion of facts. How about him playing part of "Sad Songs" for Dick James in 1969? What? That song, one of their worst commercial pop songs, was written in '83. Decades after that scene. Do the filmmaker's think we are stupid? That's not fantasy - that's just wrong!
3.) The majority of the movie was about Elton's struggles with drug/alcohol abuse, sexuality/relationships, and Mommy & Daddy issues. While it was interesting to learn about him as a person, other than some great scenes about his early days writing with Bernie, there was almost nothing about the music and how it was created. The fact that he and Elton and his band (Davey Johnstone, Nigel Olsson, Dee Murray, Ray Cooper and others) recorded dozens of great albums in cooperation with producer Gus Dudgeon and arranger Paul Buckmaster and that the band performed thousands of concerts was completely omitted from the film. In fact, the movie suggested that Elton didn't enjoy performing concerts. Like the only reason he was there was because his manager propped him up and forced him onstage. Really? Elton must have spent a huge amount of time writing, recording and performing during the first decade of his career. Was he really a wreck who was constantly wasted and feeling sorry for himself the whole time? Were there no happy moments writing music, in the recording studio, onstage? If not then I feel I have wasted my time being a fan all these years. I thought he actually liked the music but the movie suggested that once he became famous it was all about sex, drugs and depression.Were there things I liked? Sure. I really enjoyed the depiction of the early days in Elton and Bernie's relationship and particularly loved the scene with Elton writing the music to "Your Song". The Elton/Bernie relationship was well represented throughout the movie and the acting/singing of Taron Egerton was superb. Jamie Bell was fantastic. It made me like and admire Bernie even more than I already did. The recreation of scenes like Elton's childhood home, the Troubadour, Dodger Stadium, etc. w
This highly-touted film about Elton John that blends the biopic and musical genres together has one big selling point: Taron Egerton's go-for-broke performance as the deeply troubled musical genius. Regrettably, the film as a whole is self-indulgent and cliche-ridden to the hilt and goes down as a misfire.Problematic right out of the gate, the film has to overcome a befuddling start which takes place from the tawdry vantage point of a psychiatric support group and frames the film's narrative from that trivializing angle from there on out. Perhaps a film of better nuance could have pulled this off but here we have camp, mawkishness and exploitation all rolled into one. The end result is a film whose tone is dumbfounding, annoying and at times embarrassing to endure. The musical numbers in this film are mostly perplexing and very rarely effective in conveying this life story.I am not one to criticize a biopic because I realize it's a genre that is beholden to the life it is portraying. While I don't question the film's accuracy in portraying how awful Elton John's personal demons were, a film with more discipline almost definitely could have done better. A campy film, one that keeps poking you in the eye with how bad it is, will not tell anyone's story all that well, let alone a legend like Elton John.Bearing in mind that Egerton's performance has to be seen to be believed, I nevertheless decline to recommend this.
The movie isn't flamboyant enough to be a musical or deep enough to be a drama. It's a somewhat brightened up Wikipedia article about Elton John. Elton's parents were one dimensional cruel beings with zero reasoning or background. They hated the boy just because they did. And he became a broken adult because his parents hated him. Wow, that's a revelation original and artistic enough to make a 2 hour long movie about. That's a 2019-normal-zero-art-Netflix-style-shallow depiction of Elton John's life.